U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event at the Local 18 Richfield Facility of the Operating Engineers Apprentice and Training center in Richfield, Ohio, U.S. (Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg)

Democrats Tell Trump That Infrastructure Plan Needs New Revenue

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic leaders from Congress laid out their demands for an infrastructure plan in a letter to President Donald Trump Monday, setting the stage for their Tuesday meeting on a policy issue that has bipartisan support in theory but has not advanced in practice.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer laid out three priorities in their letter to Trump: new revenue to pay for “massive” infrastructure needs, a focus on climate risk mitigation and incentives to use labor and materials from U.S. companies owned by women, minorities and veterans.

“The issue of infrastructure is a bipartisan congressional priority,” Pelosi and Schumer said in their letter. “This bipartisanship is a reflection of the American people’s recognition of the need to rebuild our infrastructure, to promote commerce, create jobs, advance public health with clean air and clean water, and make our transportation systems safer.”

Trump won his 2016 election in part by promising unprecedented investment to upgrade aging infrastructure, and the issue is one of the few policy areas that Democrats cite as an example of how they could work with the president. Yet there has been little progress to develop a concrete proposal -- especially how to pay for the funds that the federal government would provide.

The White House is approaching Tuesday’s meeting as an opening round for discussions, and Trump won’t offer a total dollar amount for infrastructure spending, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified when speaking about plans that aren’t public.

Five Democratic senators in addition to Schumer will participate in the Tuesday meeting, according to a congressional aide, including the ranking Democrats on the Finance Committee and Environment and Public Works Committee. Pelosi’s top three deputies and the chairmen of the Ways and Means Committee and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will also attend, according to a House leadership aide.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.