Feb 23, 2017

The backup plan on Trump's infrastructure package

Andrew Harnik / AP

The Capitol Hill calendar is way overstuffed — a Supreme Court nomination, plus Obamacare repeal legislation; tax reform; and budget, spending and debt-ceiling fights, including a possible showdown over a government shutdown.

So Republican sources tell us that a backup plan is emerging for one of Trump's top priorities:

  • The plan: Push off until next year any consideration of the massive infrastructure plan Trump wants to push for roads, airports and other big projects, giving Republican lawmakers more breathing room amid a crowd of issues that'll require massive effort, time and political capital.
  • The politics: Republican strategists say that Democrats, who'll be reluctant to give Trump a win, will be in a jam as midterm elections close in: They'll be under huge pressure to support big projects that'll bring money and improvements to their districts. And blue-collar unions, including construction and building trades, can be expected to favor of the package, driving a wedge into the Democratic base.
  • What this shows: Trump officials, who originally wanted to flood the Capitol zone with their massive asks, are learning the rhythms of Washington — playing what White House counselor Kellyanne Conway last night called on Fox News "long ball, long haul."

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