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 PelosiConservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Grassley, Wyden reach deal to lower drug prices Why do Republicans keep trying to outspend Democrats in Congress? MORE (D-Calif.) or Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOn The Money: Trump, Congress reach two-year budget, debt limit deal | What we know | Deal gets pushback from conservatives | Equifax to pay up to 0M in data breach settlement | Warren warns another 'crash' is coming Overnight Defense: Iran's spy claim adds to tensions with US | Trump, lawmakers get two-year budget deal | Trump claims he could win Afghan war in a week Trump, Democrats clinch two-year budget deal 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 ScaliseThe Memo: Fears of violence grow amid Trump race storm Democrats call for increased security after 'send her back' chants Democratic strategist on Trump tweets: 'He's feeding this fear and hate' 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 MeadowsConservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Lawmakers request documents on DC councilman ethics investigation House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump 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 McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump applauds two-year budget deal with 0 billion spending hike On The Money: Trump, Congress reach two-year budget, debt limit deal | What we know | Deal gets pushback from conservatives | Equifax to pay up to 0M in data breach settlement | Warren warns another 'crash' is coming Overnight Defense: Iran's spy claim adds to tensions with US | Trump, lawmakers get two-year budget deal | Trump claims he could win Afghan war in a week 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 DavisRepublicans say they're satisfied with 2020 election security after classified briefings House passes sweeping Democrat-backed election security bill Transportation lawmakers race scooters in House office building MORE (R-Ill.) told The Hill.

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