President Trump’s infrastructure package may be finally released next month, White House officials told senators on Tuesday, according to The Hill.
Details of the infrastructure package were to be unveiled in January, after tax reform took priority during the fall. But White House officials told a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the proposal could now be released after Trump’s inaugural State of the Union address on Jan. 30, The Hill said.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso , R-Wyo., and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., requested a meeting with Trump’s infrastructure team on Tuesday to learn more about the administration’s rebuilding proposal.
The meeting was attended by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and White House Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn. The plan has always been to inject $1 trillion worth of overall investment into the nation’s infrastructure and bring down the lengthy construction permitting process to two years, yet key details like how the rebuilding plan will be paid for were not discussed on Tuesday and the plan’s timing remains in flux, The Hill said.
Last year, Trump mentioned the abandonment of private-public partnership funding in infrastructure initiatives, resulting in a flurry of hearings regarding the need to PPP funding and details on Trump’s plan to pay for his trillion-dollar project.
Reports said that the meeting on Tuesday “grew heated at one point” when Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., “made an impassioned plea for more funding for Amtrak safety technology and a rail and tunnel project in the Northeast corridor,” The Hill said. Gillibrand claimed that “White House officials are responsible for killing people if they don’t help fund the multibillion-dollar rail project,” The Hill reported. Chao reportedly refuted Gillibrand, stating that “New York and New Jersey Democrats are the ones holding up Ron Batory’s nomination to lead the Federal Railroad Administration over concerns about the Trump administration’s position on the so-called Gateway Program,” The Hill said.
Regardless, Democratic senators were pleased to sit down with Trump regarding the infrastructure plan. “For a year now, my Democratic colleagues and I have been eager to hear infrastructure ideas from our Republican counterparts in Congress and in the administration so that we can get to work,” Carper said in a statement to The Hill. “I appreciate the time Secretary Chao and White House officials like Gary Cohn spent with our committee today, and I am hopeful that we will finally see the long-promised infrastructure proposal from the Trump Administration sooner rather than later.”
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told reporters Monday that his staff will also be sitting down with White House officials later this week to get more “specificity” about Trump’s infrastructure plan, The Hill said.
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