Schumer to Trump: Commit $1 billion to fixing infrastructure as promised

Senate Democrats on Tuesday answered President Donald Trump's campaign pledge to invest $1 trillion in USA infrastructure by introducing their own spending plan.

The Democrats' plan calls for $180 billion to make bus and rail system improvements, $110 billion for water and sewer infrastructure and $100 billion for energy infrastructure projects.

"Our nation's infrastructure issues are vast, and they go well beyond just road and bridge fix", Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement announcing the plan.

Democrats say that they would support Trump with this plan if he were to adopt it, though Republican leaders have already denounced the plan as an "economic stimulus program" similar to the one Congress passed in 2009, according to the Associated Press.

"As I've said many times, I believe the president should pick a mainstream nominee who could earn bipartisan support for the vacant Supreme Court seat", Schumer said in a statement.

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The infrastructure plan Trump proposed during the campaign would leverage $137 billion in tax credits to generate $1 trillion in private spending on infrastructure projects over 10 years; private investors would choose to spend on toll roads.

"Senate Democrats have unveiled this blueprint because we need a wide-sweeping infrastructure plan - and we need it now", Schumer said. The Democrats' suggestion that funds should be appropriated by Congress stands in contrast to Trump's plans for public-private partnerships and tax cuts.

Trump's advisers - commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross and trade adviser Peter Navarro - have argued that the tax-credit scheme would be revenue-neutral, something roundly criticized by economists across the political spectrum.

Senior Republicans are unenthusiastic about major infrastructure spending and aides have pointed to the infrastructure spending authorized in 2015 and 2016, including a water infrastructure bill and a five-year $305 billion highway construction package.

If Trump and Republicans reject it, as it appears they will, then it will prove that their pledge to be the party of working Americans was simply a scam meant to win votes - not a promise they intended to follow through on.

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So far, three of Mr. Trump's Cabinet nominees - Defense Secretary James Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and CIA Director Mike Pompeo - have been confirmed by the full Senate and sworn in.

The state's freshman Democratic senator, Kamala Harris, is a junior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which would also have a piece of any big infrastructure package. Since Republicans control the Senate, they have a the majority in the committees. "She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage", Trump had said. "It depends on how they're going to pay for it". As I've noted before, it would be a mistake for Democrats to withhold cooperation unconditionally. A Senate aide said Democratic leaders are now weighing whether to invite May to their own party retreat but "no decision has been made".

In Congress, though, Republicans are leaning toward taxing corporate earnings that are stored overseas when that money returns to the US, a process called "repatriation", and using that revenue to pay for infrastructure spending.

Schumer embraced the role of chief opposer to Trump in full.

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