The president now says he wants a $2 trillion infrastructure package. The Wall Street Journal reports,
President Trump on Tuesday said a significant investment in infrastructure should be part of a fourth congressional coronavirus relief package, citing an opportunity in low interest rates.
“With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country!”
Asked at a press briefing later Tuesday how he proposes to pay for the plan, Mr. Trump said, “we’re going to borrow the money at zero-percent interest.”
As the WSJ writes, this would be the feds fourth response to coronavirus.
The divided Congress has already passed three major pieces of legislation to address the pandemic: a roughly $2 trillion stimulus bill that includes checks to households, bailouts for airlines and other distressed industries, and loans and grants for small business; an earlier package of tax credits and increases for unemployment benefits and food assistance; and fresh funds for health agencies and virus testing.
The Hill reports that the House majority is on board.
…House Democrats have zeroed in on major investments in infrastructure.
Democrats have suggested an infrastructure bill could include updates to public drinking water systems and hospital capacity, as well as upgrades to rural broadband in light of increased teleworking and online schooling during the pandemic. The upshot would include additional jobs at a time when unemployment filings are skyrocketing into the millions, Democrats argue.
As with the $2 trillion in stimulus, limiting the proposal will be a challenge.
Some in the party have also signaled a phase four stimulus bill could include other measures left out of earlier packages, such as expanded paid leave for workers and parents forced to stay at home during the outbreak and increased worker protections.
Another challenge is reticence in the Senate, as the WSJ notes.
Whether chambers of Congress take up a fourth round of legislation is unclear, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said Tuesday morning he wasn’t sure it would be necessary to craft another bill.
“I think, first, we need to see what the effect of the current bill is,” Mr. McConnell said on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” “Let’s see how things are going and respond accordingly.”
Members of Congress left D.C. last week, though the Speaker says a bill could be worked on remotely for a vote late in the month.