WASHINGTON — After scoring his first major legislative win without a single Democratic vote, President Donald Trump on Friday predicted Republicans and Democrats will begin working together “for the good of the country.”
And the first item the president, who has spent weeks criticizing Democratic lawmakers for opposing his tax plan and accusing them of favoring a government shutdown, sees the parties collaborating on is a massive package to upgrade the country’s infrastructure.
“Infrastructure would be a perfect place to start,” Trump tweeted, just a couple hours before he is slated to depart the White House for his holiday vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. “After having foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, it is time to start rebuilding our country!”
The latter line is one he has used since he was a candidate for the Oval Office to sell his envisioned plan to rebuild America’s roads, bridges, airports, railways and seaports. He often describes the country’s infrastructure as “crumbling.”
Republicans and Democrats long have agreed that a federal funding package is needed to address the problem. But they disagree on the specifics, including how large the package should be and how to pay for it.
On Thursday, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., an Appropriations Committee member, told Roll Call he has concluded the GOP tax bill Trump could sign into law as soon as Friday morning might preclude the White House and Republicans from being able to pay for a sweeping infrastructure bill.
“I don’t see where they have the resources” for an infrastructure package, Reed said. “They’ve already given $1.5 trillion away to the wealthiest individuals and corporations in the country and … around the world.”
Reed’s comments show just how difficult 2018 could be for Trump legislatively. One, it’s a midterm election year. Two, after passing a tax bill that also overhauled the 2010 health law’s individual insurance mandate and opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy drilling, he will need Democrats in the Senate to enact more of his domestic agenda.
Trump’s on-again-off-again courting of Democrats continued Friday morning. He often slams the opposition party for several days or weeks, then predicts he soon will start working with them.
For instance, on Tuesday, he criticized Democrats for not providing a single vote for the tax measure.
“Unfortunately, the Democrats don’t like to see tax cutting, they like to see tax increases,” the president told reporters. “And they like to complain, but they don’t get it done, unfortunately. But they complain a lot.”
-John T. Bennett, ©2017 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.