Mar 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump sees opportunity for infrastructure bill amid coronavirus crisis

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

Go deeper

1.9 million Americans filed for unemployment last week

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Another roughly 1.9 million people filed for unemployment last week, the Department of Labor said on Thursday.

The big picture: The coronavirus pandemic is still putting a historic strain on the labor market, though the pace of unemployment applications continues to slow.

The risk asset rally continues as stock market rebounds

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Risk assets have jumped over the past week and continued their rally on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 gaining for a fourth straight day and posting its highest close since March 4, while the Nasdaq ended the day just 1.4% below its all-time high.

What it means: If it hadn't been evident before, Wednesday's market action made clear that the bulls are back in charge.

Trump's troubles grow, spread

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump is confronting the most dire political environment of his presidency, with his support dropping fast from Texas to Wisconsin, even among his base of religious and older voters. 

Why it matters: Top Republicans tell Axios that Trump's handling of the nation's civil unrest, including his hasty photo op at St. John's Church after the violent clearing of Lafayette Park, make them much more worried about his chance of re-election than they were one week ago.