House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this week met with President Trump regarding infrastructure legislation, which ended with all parties reaching an agreement on a $2 trillion package.
"We agreed that infrastructure is crucial to the future of America," Leader Schumer said at a press conference outside the White House on April 30 regarding the meeting with the president. "We agreed it creates jobs, we agreed it keeps us competitive. We agreed that for 25 years, a big, bold bill that we could pass would make America a better place—this is not just a one-year or two-year [plan]."
According to an Associated Press report, Speaker Pelosi and congressional Democrats had asked for the meeting with President Trump to discuss rolling out an ambitious infrastructure plan, which has become a top priority for Democrats as well as a rare topic with potential bipartisan support with Republicans in Congress. Trump himself has touted an infrastructure package in the past, with a number ranging from $1 trillion to $1.7 trillion to fund the measure.
While the president agreed with the Democratic congressional leaders on the $2 trillion number, a plan to pay for such a bold infrastructure package was not discussed. "We agreed that we would meet again to talk about how it would be paid for," Speaker Pelosi said in the press conference. "But we're very pleased with the positive attitude toward recognizing the trillions of dollars of need. And now we have an opportunity to work together in a bipartisan way."
Congressional leaders and transportation industry associations have called for action on transportation and infrastructure funding from Congress. It has been repoorted that Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) has been attempting to get a transportation bill out of committee by this month.
Notable industry leaders reacted to the news of the productive meeting at the White House with enthusiasm. "We applaud the bipartisan acknowledgment that America’s transportation system needs additional federal investment,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director, in a statement. “We welcome the announced plan to pursue additional federal investment, and we look forward to working with Congress and the White House on legislation to shore up the Highway Trust Fund and to get America moving again.”
“The fact President Trump and Democratic Congressional leaders agree to enact a much-needed new infrastructure measure underscores just how vital these investments are to the country’s continued prosperity and global competitiveness," Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, said in a statement. "Congress and the administration need to act quickly to convert this bipartisan agreement into a comprehensive infrastructure measure that will fund significant upgrades to our aging and over-burdened infrastructure.