2018: What’s next in Washington?

FAN Editor

“Sunday Morning” begins the New Year with a look ahead based on events of the year gone by, reported by CBS News correspondents from around the world, including Chief White House correspondent Chip Reid:

President Trump has made no secret of the fact that fixing the nation’s transportation and communications infrastructure is now at the top of his agenda.

“People want it — Republicans and Democrats,” he said. “We’re going to have tremendous Democrat support on infrastructure.”

If only it were that simple.

In fact, the two parties are far apart. Democrats want a trillion-dollar government-financed program. But the president wants only one-fifth of that, $200 billion. He thinks the business community, working with state and local governments, can make up the difference.

And finding compromise in an election year won’t be easy.

Tomorrow, the president will leaves his vacation home in Florida. Next weekend he heads to the presidential retreat at Camp David, where he and Republican leaders will draw up the legislative agenda for 2018.

It’s sure to include the “Dreamers,” nearly 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S illegally as children and are hoping to stay here permanently.  The president has made his sympathies clear:

“I have a love for these people, and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.”

DACA supporters demonstration at the White House in Washington

Demonstrators protest in front of the White House after the Trump administration scrapped the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in Washington, D.C., September 5, 2017.

Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

But in exchange, he’s demanding funding for “the wall” on the Mexican border, setting up another political battle with Democrats.

And don’t forget the elephant in the room (not to mention the donkey): the November mid-term elections.

Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for the Washington Post, says it could be rough sailing for the Republicans. “They’re heading into a pretty stiff headwind,” she told Reid. “Donald Trump goes into it with a particular challenge in that his approval rating is lower than any other president that we’ve seen at this point in his term since polling began.”

Some Republicans have warned that the party could lose control of one — or even both — houses of Congress.

And then there’s the wild card — the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign played a role. The president has repeatedly maintained, “There is absolutely no collusion.”

“The president has been very eager to see this investigation conclude quickly,” Tumulty said. “His lawyers have been promising him that it would.”

But Special Counsel Robert Mueller has obtained two guilty pleas (former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos) and two indictments, and the betting in Washington is that there’s more to come.

See also:

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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