Mar 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump sees opportunity for infrastructure bill amid coronavirus crisis

President Trump speaking in the Rose Garden

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

As the coronavirus outbreak persists, President Trump tweeted Tuesday about a $2 trillion bill "focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country!"

Why it matters via Axios' Jonathan Swan: Trump has long wanted to pursue massive debt-funded infrastructure. However, he’s faced resistance from congressional Republicans. In a crisis, perhaps, he can overwhelm them.

"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."
— President Trump tweeted

Between the lines: Trump never liked the idea of public-private partnerships, even though that's exactly what he proposed for his first infrastructure plan, according to sources who've discussed the deal with Trump.

  • The president referred to the public-private plan derisively as “Gary’s plan” — a dig at his former economic adviser Gary Cohn.
  • Trump was always more enthralled with spending big and dismissing the debt, especially if he could bully the Fed into making money cheaper.

Worth noting: The problem with Trump's infrastructure plan was not Democrats, who were aligned with Trump. The issue was Republicans, as the president faced a roadblock in the Senate. Many elected Republicans oppose raising new taxes to pay for infrastructure or adding new deficit spending to fund it.

The bottom line: Now the coronavirus crisis may have delivered Trump the political conditions to ram an infrastructure plan through.

Go deeper... Scoop: Trump's $2 trillion spending dream

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