GOP voices skepticism about viability of $2T infrastructure deal

GOP voices skepticism about viability of $2T infrastructure deal
© Stefani Reynolds

Republicans are skeptical that any $2 trillion infrastructure deal will emerge from talks between the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress.

They said there was little chance that Democrats and Republicans could agree to a way to pay for the new spending, adding that they doubted Trump could agree with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPatagonia says to shut stores for a few hours during Global Climate Strike Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Progressives push for changes to Pelosi drug pricing plan MORE (D-Calif.) or Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (D-N.Y.) on a pay-for either.

Republicans, who were not invited to the White House for Tuesday’s meeting between Trump and top Democrats, have insisted that there be no tax hikes to pay for an infrastructure bill.

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“If they can find an agreement on how to pay for a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, with no taxes, no new taxes, I'd be interested in seeing that,” House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseScalise blasts Democratic legislation on gun reforms Liz Cheney calls for 'proportional military response' against Iran On The Money: Senate panel scraps vote on key spending bill amid standoff | Democrats threaten to vote against defense bill over wall funding | Trump set to meet with aides about reducing capital gains taxes MORE (R-La.) said Tuesday afternoon.

“Obviously, Speaker Pelosi didn't go into the meeting with any pay-fors today,” he added. “So at some point, they're going to have to show how they would pay for it — we've been trying to negotiate with them on a bill that will be fully paid for, with no new taxes.”

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill Interview: Sanford says Trump GOP doing 'serious brand destruction' GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan GOP struggles with retirement wave MORE (R-N.C.) said he wasn’t opposed to an infrastructure bill — even one that cost $2 trillion. But he questioned how the nation could pay for it.

“Obviously, if we could invest $2 trillion in infrastructure in a responsibly, fiscally responsible way, I'd be all for it,” he said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices Modernize Congress to make it work for the people MORE (R-Calif.) also questioned how to pay for such a bill.

“It's always going to come down to — everybody likes to spend money, but where do you get the money from?” he said.

Before the meeting, Scalise said any deal that moves forward needs to include reforms to the permitting process for large infrastructure projects, arguing current policy dramatically increases costs on major projects.

“If you reform that you can dramatically lower the cost of projects and do a lot more infrastructure building in this country,” he said Monday evening. “And so I want to see any bill dealing with infrastructure have an equal focus on reforming the broken permitting process.”

One GOP member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said they are working on a proposal that would shift the way infrastructure is funded by creating an Infrastructure Investment Fund that would pay for federal priorities like federal highways and bridges in addition to providing block grants to the states.

Democratic lawmakers are slated to return to the White House in three weeks to talk about ways to pay for a possible bill.

Republicans hope that at that meeting, they will be included.

“GOP should definitely have a seat at the table,” Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisGroups push lawmakers for hearings on voting machine security House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 House Democrats target 2020 GOP incumbents in new ad MORE (R-Ill.) told The Hill.

“Of course we’ll be there,” McCarthy said.