Trump takes infrastructure pitch to Ohio as sweeping bill stalls in Congress

Trump takes infrastructure pitch to Ohio as sweeping bill stalls in Congress
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE is taking his infrastructure pitch to Ohio as the administration’s proposal for a sweeping overhaul of U.S. public works appears to be stalled in Congress.

The president is traveling to Richfield, Ohio, on Thursday to promote his rebuilding blueprint at a site for the International Union of Operating Engineers, a trade union representing heavy equipment operators.

“The message that the president is going to deliver is about the economic agenda that he has put forward and how that will unleash commerce and jobs and grow the wages and opportunities for our workers,” a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday.


That official touted Ohio as an example of success in providing state and local governments with authority over infrastructure projects, a key component of the administration's infrastructure strategy.

Trump’s appearance in the battleground state comes as the infrastructure proposal he formally unveiled in February seems to hit a wall in Congress, with GOP lawmakers openly questioning whether action on the administration’s framework is likely.

The trip this week also coincides with a report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers that argues Trump’s rebuilding initiative could add between 290,000 and 414,000 infrastructure jobs over a decade.

“The thing that we found is that there is an enormous amount of opportunity in the workforce area on infrastructure,” another administration official said Wednesday.

The White House has unveiled an infrastructure plan that calls for the use of public-private partnerships and funding from state and local governments to generate a $1.5 trillion rebuilding package that uses $200 billion in federal seed money.

Democrats have denounced the plan, arguing it does not include enough federal dollars to produce a meaningful infrastructure overhaul. They also argue it puts the financial responsibility for projects onto states and skirts the federal government's historic role in rebuilding.

Meanwhile, Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanKenosha will be a good bellwether in 2020 At indoor rally, Pence says election runs through Wisconsin Juan Williams: Breaking down the debates MORE (R-Wis.) appeared to reject the prospect of a sweeping infrastructure bill earlier this month, telling a question-and-answer session that the House will tackle rebuilding “in about five or six different bills.”

Ryan at the time pointed to two pieces of must-pass legislation: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization and the omnibus bill lawmakers passed last week.

A reauthorization for the FAA through September was included in the spending package last week; lawmakers are expected to take up a formal fix later this year.

The White House on Wednesday echoed Ryan’s remarks, referring to the infrastructure funds in the omnibus spending legislation as a “down payment” on the rebuilding plan and saying Congress will likely pass multiple bills to achieve Trump’s goals.

“So it’s unlikely that there will be one piece of legislation that will contain all of these elements,” said one of the administration officials, adding that the White House is “very supportive” of Ryan’s plan to do several bills.

Like Ryan, the official also mentioned the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), a waterways bill Congress regularly re-ups every two years.

“We hope to get a big chunk of the plan done this year, but whatever we’re not able to get through this year we’ll take up again next year,” the official said.