WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump agree that America needs a $2 trillion facelift for infrastructure: roads, bridges, airports, schools, even high-speed internet.
As they emerged from a meeting last week, Democratic leaders said Trump has promised to come up with some ideas for footing the bill. But some Republicans lawmakers doubt a series of White House meetings will find the $2 trillion; they suggest Congress hold some hearings to develop sensible ways to pay for the plan.
Congressman Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, says he’s frustrated with the lack of congressional action on America’s crumbling infrastructure.
“We’ve literally had no hearings on what needs to be done,” he said.
Perry serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He says it’s time for Congress to come up with an infrastructure plan of its own.
“It is long overdue for Congress to get to the table and start working on an infrastructure package that we can afford and people can support,” Perry added.
“All of us want to get something done on infrastructure in a big and bold way,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said.
A group of Democrats led by Schumer went into last week’s meeting at the White House asking for a $1 trillion plan and came out with more.
“The president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion, and that is a very good thing,” Schumer said.
But Perry has concerns about how to fund the plan.
“Even if we raise the gas tax 50 cents, I think that produces $300 billion over 10 years,” he explained.
He says the White House meeting wasn’t a serious attempt at solving the problem.
“It’s going to be a combination, I think, of fees, taxes, but also of policy,” Perry said. “None of us want to pay more in taxes but we’re willing to do our part as long as we know it’s handled efficiently and fairly.”
So far, Congressional leaders seem content to leave the hard questions to the White House. The two sides will meet again in three weeks discuss Trump’s plan for paying for the $2 trillion price tag.