President Donald Trump has been promising to do something about the state of roads, bridges as well as water and sewage delivery, since his 2015 campaign launch. After two years, however, no meaningful legislation has passed and nothing was proposed to Congress.
Axios reported Sunday that Trump’s proposed 2020 budget calls for $200 billion in additional spending on infrastructure. That’s a far cry from the $2 trillion the president told Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) he wanted to spend. While the president is known for inflating the size of his crowds, hands and assets, and now it seems he’s moved on to the size of his infrastructure package.
Trump will meet Tuesday with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to talk about his plans, but if history is any lesson, this meeting will be nothing more than a media circus. “Democrats know that left to his own devices; Trump would happily spend a ton of federal” dollars on building things, that likely include his wall, Axios said.
They revealed the dirty secret of the Trump White House is that the president actually hates the ideas his White House infrastructure package, senior White House officials told Axios. He’s spent the better part of the past months calling it “Gary’s plan” from economic advisor Gary Cohn. It would create a public-private partnership that uses only a small amount of taxpayer dollars to invest in projects.
Democrats have little interest in a public-private partnership, and Trump doesn’t either. Instead, they’d like to see “real” federal dollars invested in rebuilding the country the way the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 did in its day. While it was a partnership between Congress and FDR, Trump sees Eisenhower as the “infrastructure president” because highway systems were named after him, one source in a 2017 meeting told Axios.
“But we’re going to do double, triple, quadruple, what Eisenhower did,” Trump reportedly said during the meeting.
Trump, who hasn’t had any experience in government, though he could come into the White House and begin his projects immediately. He didn’t seem to know that Congress controls the budget.
“There was a genuine naïveté about the prospect of Democrats and Republicans coming together to do something on a grand scale with infrastructure,” a former White House official told Axios. “It was one of those things where Trump said it was gonna be easy. He really thought so.”
For now, it’s merely an “ongoing discussion” between Trump and Democrats contrasting with Trump’s own government and his party. It’s unclear if Republicans will allow Trump to work with Democrats on their mutual pet project, however.