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Trump agrees to spend $2 trillion on US infrastructure: Democrats


AFP Washington
Democratic leaders emerged from White House talks with Donald Trump Tuesday saying they had reached agreement with the president to spend USD 2 trillion to improve America's creaking infrastructure.
"We agreed on a number which was very, very good: USD 2 trillion for infrastructure," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, in a sign the feuding sides are willing to work together on accomplishing a major bipartisan goal to upgrade the nation's roads, bridges, airports, rail lines, waterways and broadband internet access.
"Even the president was eager to push it up to USD 2 trillion," the Democrat added.
"There was goodwill in this meeting, and that was different than some of the other meetings that we've had, which is a very good thing." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi added that the lawmakers and Trump agreed on a "big and bold" proposal, but that Democrats would be waiting eagerly to see the president's plans for how to pay for it. The group will meet again with the president in three weeks, she said.
Commitment to work on a bipartisan infrastructure plan could mark a bright spot in a Washington riven by political division, but there was no guarantee the plan would advance in a Congress marred by gridlock.
Democrats have clashed repeatedly with Trump and the White House over the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 US election, and the Trump team's contacts with Russians.
"We may have difficulties in the other area but we cannot ignore the needs of the American people as we go forward," Pelosi said when asked whether it was difficult to work with Trump while he stonewalls the investigations.
Trump, a New York real estate tycoon, has already voiced his commitment to upgrading US infrastructure.
He made it a campaign pledge in 2016, playing up his background in construction, and in early 2018 during his State of the Union address he proposed a $1.5 trillion plan. Under such a proposal, states and private investors would put up as much as $1.3 trillion of the investment.
Schumer said Trump's backing was crucial for any major infrastructure push. "Where does he propose that we can fund this? Because certainly in the (Republican-led) Senate if we don't have him on board, it will be very hard to get the Senate to go along," he said.

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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 11:10 PM IST

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