Trump demands $2 trillion for infrastructure after blowing up negotiations


Donald Trump said last year that he would not do anything to rebuild infrastructure unless Congress stopped doing oversight.

Donald Trump asked for $2 trillion Tuesday to fund infrastructure projects, nearly a year after blowing up an earlier bipartisan plan for exactly that.

"With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill," he tweeted. "It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4"

This idea is nothing new for Trump, whose broken promise to "build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports and airports" has become something of a national joke.

Last April, Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed on the broad outlines of a $2 trillion infrastructure deal. Then-White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders hailed the "excellent and productive" meetings, saying, "We have to invest in this country’s future and bring our infrastructure to a level better than it has ever been before."

But Trump's own party was less than enthusiastic, with many Republican lawmakers vowing to oppose any tax increases or expansion of the budget deficit to pay for the plan.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), now Trump's new White House chief of staff, called the plan impossible.

"You would have to have a gas tax to do it, and we’re not for a gas tax," he told the Hill last May. "I mean, $1 trillion you could maybe do; $2 trillion, there is no way to get the money other than raising taxes and there is not an appetite for an increase in taxes by Republicans in the House or the Senate."

Rather than take on his party, Trump instead blew up the deal. He stormed out of an infrastructure meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, exited to a pre-staged Rose Garden press briefing, and vowed not to do anything on the matter until Congress stopped doing oversight of his administration.

"You can't do it under these circumstances, so get these phony investigations over with," he demanded.

As a candidate, Trump promised in his June 2015 kickoff speech that, if elected, he would "rebuild the country’s infrastructure" better than anyone else could. "Believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought," he boasted.

Throughout his time in office, Trump and his administration have repeatedly promised that action was imminent. After a train derailed in December 2017, Trump said the Republican-controlled Congress would soon pass an infrastructure plan.

"The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!" he tweeted.

That never happened.

Last week, Trump signed a $2 trillion emergency coronavirus economic package, further expanding the already record national debt.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview on Tuesday that he was in no rush to pass another massive spending bill.

"I think we need to wait a few days here, a few weeks, and see how things are working out," he said. "Let’s see how things are going and respond accordingly. I’m not going to allow this to be an opportunity for the Democrats to achieve unrelated policy items that they would not otherwise be able to pass."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.