President Trump plans to put his long-awaited infrastructure package at the top of his 2018 agenda, eager to notch another legislative victory now that he’s signed a major tax overhaul.
The White House will unveil a much anticipated “detailed legislative principles” in January outlining Trump’s infrastructure vision, which lawmakers will use as a blueprint to craft a bill while Trump works to sell the idea to the public, state and local officials and members of Congress.
“We’re going to get infrastructure; infrastructure is the easiest of all,” Trump said in the Oval Office last week when he signed the tax bill into law. “People want it, Republicans and Democrats.”
But the ambitious rebuilding effort could face roadblocks in both parties, with Republicans concerned about new government spending and Democrats wary of handing Trump another win, reports The Hill.
Here are five obstacles that could knock Trump’s infrastructure plan off course.
While the infrastructure proposal has long been billed as one of Trump’s few bipartisan initiatives, Democrats have so far balked at the rebuilding ideas floated by the White House.
The administration has proposed giving tax credits to the private sector for backing infrastructure projects and rewarding cities and states that raise their own revenue for infrastructure. The White House also plans to use $200 billion in federal seed money, along with massive permit reform, to leverage $1 trillion worth of infrastructure investment.
An infrastructure bill was always going to be a tough sell with fiscal conservatives, who are wary of massive federal spending on transportation.
Trump initially labeled infrastructure a 100-day priority, but Republicans instead pressed the White House to focus on tax reform, health care and other GOP priorities.
One of the biggest question marks surrounding Trump’s infrastructure plan is how to pay for it.
While the administration has outlined the broad contours of Trump’s rebuilding proposal, there have been far less clues about how it will be funded.
Lawmakers are facing a daunting to-do list in the first few months of 2018, increasing the chances that infrastructure could be pushed off the agenda.
When members return to Washington next month, they will have to quickly grapple with all the sticky issues they left unfinished when passing a stopgap spending bill last week to keep the government open until Jan. 19.
House and Senate leaders will have to reach a deal on a bipartisan budget agreement, which will lay the groundwork for a massive, trillion-dollar omnibus package to fund agencies for the rest of the 2018 fiscal year.
Transportation advocates have long voiced concern that an infrastructure bill might not get over the finish line if it gets pushed back to 2018.
Part of the reason is that there are midterm elections next year. Major achievements are generally more difficult in election years because there is less time on the legislative calendar and lawmakers are more conscious of how votes might impact them in primary races and general elections.
Election-year politics could come into play with an infrastructure bill if lawmakers need to raise revenue for the package by increasing fuel taxes or user fees. Either step could prove unpopular with voters.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
December 28th, 2017
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