On the heels of a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package to help the United States rebound from the negative economic impact of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Tuesday signaled that he would be ready to support an almost equal amount of spending to build new roads and bridges in the United States.
"It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country," the President wrote on Twitter.
Mr. Trump cited low interest rates as one reason to spend extra money - a suggestion made by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve last week to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well.
With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill. It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2020
Since 2015, when he was a candidate for President, Mr. Trump has talked repeatedly about the need for a major infrastructure plan, but has never offered Congress a way to pay for it - which has been the major stumbling block for the past ten years on building new roads and bridges.
With less gasoline being used - not enough money is coming into the U.S. Treasury in federal gas taxes to support a major expansion of road and bridge construction - creating the need for a larger funding source.
The President's tweet drew an immediate vow of support from the GOP Senator in charge of infrastructure efforts.
"We stand ready to answer @realDonaldTrump’s call," Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) wrote on Twitter. "In the Senate, we have a bipartisan bill that will invest billions in America’s highways and is ready to go."
But others, like fiscal hawk Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), weren't ready for a full embrace.
America’s infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy. At a time when our nation is dealing with an economic crisis from this pandemic, fixing America’s roads and bridges is a great way to create jobs and support businesses.— Sen. John Barrasso (@SenJohnBarrasso) March 31, 2020
So, without commenting on merits... if a $2 Trillion transportation infrastructure bill is passed (no word on its “shovel-readiness”)... we’re up to $8.x trillion spent in a matter of weeks (including Fed). Approx. 1/3rd of our total CURRENT debt of almost $24 trillion.— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) March 31, 2020
"I agree!" said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) in a tweet directed back at the President. "Help get your Republican colleagues to agree."
The President's tweet came amid some political maneuvering on what should be in the next Congressional stimulus bill - what many refer to as "Phase 4" of the Coronavirus response.
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