Trump says another coronavirus stimulus should include up to $2 trillion for infrastructure

WASHINGTON – Days after signing a record $2 trillion stimulus bill to curb the effects of coronavirus, President Donald Trump said Tuesday the next phase to revive the economy should include up to $2 trillion more for roads, bridges, and other forms of infrastructure.

“With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill,” Trump tweeted. “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.”

Trump and congressional lawmakers are already making opening bids on another stimulus bill. 

The $2 trillion package Trump signed, the largest economic rescue bill in U.S. history, provides cash payments to Americans, loans to businesses and financial relief for industries. The goal is to inject cash into an economy ravaged by shutdowns brought about by the spread of coronavirus.

So far, members of the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-run Senate are still feeling each other out on what an extended stimulus plan should look like – though some prominent Democrats said they are also interested in infrastructure.

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“Everything that we’re doing is specific to the coronavirus challenge,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “And that would be infrastructure for water systems are so essential, broadband because so many people are relying on telecommunication and social media and the rest.”

Trump, a New York City real estate magnate before his election, has long backed government infrastructure projects.

But a string of proposals – critics often mock the White House for declaring “infrastructure week” events – have languished in Congress, as lawmakers argued about what kinds of projects should be included and how they should be financed.

Some of Trump’s Republican allies have opposed infrastructure plans in the past, either because of new taxes proposed to finance them or the budget deficit increases they would trigger.

In proclaiming a new infrastructure push, Trump cited actions by the Federal Reserve designed to encourage lending. On March 15, the Fed announced it would cut short-term interest rates to zero, which Trump has applauded.

Pelosi said earlier this week that she doesn’t expect lawmakers to reach any kind of an agreement on another plan until after they return from the Easter and Passover recess on April 20.

“But we’re getting ready,” she said, “and in some cases we are ready….in light of the increasing challenge we face.”

Some Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said they want to wait and see how the current $2 trillion plan and other phases play out before passing another one.

“We have just passed three bills,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told Fox News Friday afternoon. “Let’s make sure this is actually working.”

Contributing: Will Cummings

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