Trump, Democrats discuss $US2 trillion infrastructure plan

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The plan focused on $US1.5 trillion in new spending on infrastructure over the coming decade but relied heavily on states, localities and the private sector to cover the costs.

A plan released earlier by Senate Democrats would have relied far more heavily on direct federal government spending than Trump’s plan. The president’s plan included $US200 billion in federal spending with the aim of enticing several times that amount from other levels of government.

Both Schumer and Pelosi characterised the meeting with Trump as productive, and Pelosi said she is hopeful Democrats can work with the White House despite friction over ongoing congressional investigations of the administration.

«We cannot ignore the needs of the American people as we go forward,» she said.

Schumer told reporters that the bulk of Tuesday’s meeting at the White House focused on what kind of investments should be made. Besides spending on roads and bridges, there was agreement that money should be aimed at extending broadband internet connectivity in rural areas and inner cities, as well as improving power grids, Schumer said.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also called the meeting productive and spoke of the need for bipartisan cooperation, but she made no mention of a $US2 trillion figure.

«The United States has not come even close to properly investing in infrastructure for many years, foolishly prioritising the interests of other countries over our own,» Sanders said.

The issue of paying for a plan looms incredibly large.

Schumer told reporters that Trump did not rule out tax increases — an idea many Republicans are loath to embrace, especially with an election around the corner — but offered no specifics.

«The ball is in their court,» Schumer said. «We told him that, it was repeated over and over again, that unless he is willing to come up with the pay-fors for this large package, it will never get done, and he agreed. And so we agreed to meet in three weeks, the same group, and they would present what their pay-fors would be, and I thought that was encouraging.»

Before the meeting, White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway told reporters that Trump had not endorsed the idea of paying for infrastructure with an increase in the federal petrol tax, a move backed by some Democrats and business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce.

«There are many different ways to pay for it,» she said. «You could have private-public partnerships. I know the Democrats will want to raise taxes. They want to raise taxes for everything.»

Democrats have suggested paying for infrastructure by rolling back the Republican tax cuts that Trump signed into law in 2017.

Before the meeting, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney cast doubt on whether a deal could be cut with Democrats.

«I hope that negotiations go well today, but if they don’t, it would not surprise me,» Mulvaney said, adding that he thinks there’s a greater likelihood of a revamped trade deal with Canada and Mexico passing Congress than an infrastructure plan.

Speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, Mulvaney told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that the real sticking point in his view is not how much to spend or how to pay for infrastructure, but a desire by the White House to change environmental laws so roads and other projects can be built more quickly.

«Everyone agrees we should do it,» Mulvaney said of an infrastructure plan. «The disagreement isn’t even so much on funding. The issue is that it takes so long to do projects.»

Washington Post

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Источник: Theage.com.au

Источник: Corruptioner.life

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