A day after President Donald Trump said he would support a $2 trillion infrastructure package as a way to spur economic growth stalled by the outbreak of the Coronavirus, House Democratic leaders said they were ready to develop a plan with the White House.
"We are ready," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on a Wednesday morning conference call. "It's never been partisan."
Joined by several other top Democrats, the Speaker made the case that there is an obvious need for a fourth economic aid package dealing with the virus - what's known as 'Phase 4' to lawmakers.
"We must take bold action to renew America's infrastructure," Pelosi added.
While not setting out the exact details of a new plan, Pelosi and other key Democrats made clear there were several areas which deserved attention - not just new roads and bridges.
NOW: @SpeakerPelosi and House Dems are outlining a possible COVID recovery bill #4. They'd like:— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) April 1, 2020
- Infrastructure (roads, bridges, rail, transit)
- Clean water improvements
- Broadband, especially in rural areas
- Community health centers
Pelosi rattled off priorities like money to build new community health centers, resources for broadband in rural areas and smaller towns, clean water infrastructure, and then money for roads, bridges, and mass transit programs.
The President has talked a lot about infrastructure, but never really taken the next step to negotiate a plan with Democrats, who now see a giant opportunity to move forward.
"For once, I agree with him on a step he wants to take," said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
DeFazio -- House Dems' roads/bridges guru -- has this to say about Trump's embrace of the $2T infrastructure idea...— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) April 1, 2020
"I was pleased to see the president has come back to where we started, almost a year ago now."
The broader questions looming over the nation about the Coronavirus also apply to the Congress - as while the House is due back after Easter, it's not clear what the health situation will be nationwide at that point, and whether lawmakers will return to legislate.
"I think we come back April 20, God willing, and Coronavirus willing," the Speaker said.
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