A scheduled White House meeting between President Trump and Democrat Congressional leaders designed to discuss a possible $1 trillion to $2 trillion infrastructure bill ended before it began.
The conference had been long anticipated in Washington among leaders of both parties interested in the passage of a comprehensive infrastructure bill during the current 116th Congress.
Both Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month expressed optimism that a bi-partisan bill designed to fund work on the nation’s crumbling road and bridge infrastructure could be fashioned in a manner that might win passage in both the House and Senate.
More specific details on the proposed legislation, including funding options, were expected to be revealed during the White House meeting.
But instead the President cancelled that meeting, expressing anger over a statement made by Pelosi earlier in the day that even though she was not an advocate of launching impeachment proceeding against Trump, she believed “the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.”
That remark prompted Trump to cancel the meeting, subsequently telling reporters, “Let them play their games. We’re going to do down one track at a time. Let them finish up and we’ll be all set.”
Trump later said he told Democrat Congressional leaders “I want to do infrastructure. I want to do it more than you want to do it. I’d be really good at that. That is what I do. But you know what, you can’t do it under these circumstances. So get these phony investigations over with.”
According to analysts, the suddenly cancelled meeting makes it unlikely that any infrastructure bill will be introduced in Congress any time soon.
In an earlier message sent to Congressional leaders, Trump indicated that he would be ready to get into the details of an infrastructure package only after Congress approved a pending new trade pact between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Last week various groups calling for infrastructure legislation, including construction and transportation industry officials, announced their support of increasing the federal fuel tax to 25 cents per gallon to help fund infrastructure projects.
By Garry Boulard
Get stories like these right to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter