FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo
April 23, 2019
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer will meet with President Donald Trump on April 30 at the White House to discuss the fate of proposals to boost U.S. infrastructure repairs by at least $1 trillion, according to a congressional aide and an administration official.
Pelosi said in New York on Tuesday that the meeting would happen next week.
“We’ll be meeting with the president next week when we come back to talk about what the prospect is for the size in terms of resources and scope of what that might be,” Pelosi at an event sponsored by Time.
Pelosi said she is “very optimistic” that Trump and Democrats can reach a deal on infrastructure.
Trump, who vowed in 2016 as a presidential candidate to back $1 trillion of infrastructure spending over 10 years, has been vague about his plans in recent months. The White House did not immediately comment on Tuesday.
In February 2018, Trump asked Congress to authorize $200 billion in federal money over 10 years to spur road, bridge and other projects mostly funded by states, cities and the private sector. That plan was roundly criticized and never voted on in Congress, which was then controlled by Republicans.
Democrats now control the House of Representatives and are demanding that Trump back new revenue as a condition of moving forward with an infrastructure plan.
In March, the White House said it wanted Congress to approve legislation to boost U.S. infrastructure by at least $1 trillion, with a “tight time frame” to agree a bill to fund repairs.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says the House needs to take action by August, given the presidential election in 2020 and the busy calendar.
Experts say the United States badly needs to invest significant sums in its congested airports, aging energy infrastructure and crumbling roads.
Representative Peter DeFazio, who chairs the panel that oversees infrastructure, has been holding discussions with administration officials about an infrastructure plan.
DeFazio says the United States has at least $2 trillion in infrastructure needs, including 140,000 bridges that need substantial attention and 40 percent of the nation’s highways that need to be rebuilt.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Meredith Mazzilli)