President Donald Trump met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday to discuss infrastructure plans, and the two sides came to an agreement on the amount, according to The Hill.
The three leaders agreed to pursue a deal on a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, setting a foundation on which to build future negotiations and surprising some observers who expected another contentious meeting with the trio.
Schumer said Pres. Trump was more agreeable than he has been in past meetings, and that he didn’t bring up the issue of Democratic investigations as an obstacle to negotiations like he has in the past.
“That was different than some of the other meetings that we’ve had,” Schumer told reporters afterward. “This was a very, very good start. … We hope it will go to a constructive conclusion.
“In previous meetings, the president has said ‘if these investigations continue, I can’t work with you.’ He didn’t bring it up,” Schumer said. “The two are not mutually exclusive and we were glad he didn’t make it that way.”
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had expressed doubt that the president would overlook the Democrats’ aggressive investigations in to his administration and campaign.
“It’s not reasonable to expect the president to work with you on Monday on a big infrastructure bill and have you punching him in the face on Tuesday on 15 investigations,” Mulvaney said during a Tuesday speech in California.
There is a good chance of conflict still to come on infrastructure however. Agreeing on how much to spend is one thing; agreeing on how to pay for it is another entirely.
A point of contention will be a desire from some Democrats to raise taxes and roll back Pres. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts in order to fund the infrastructure bill.
“The common denominator, no matter what the subject the Democrats bring up, is a tax increase,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters before the meeting. “[On] infrastructure, they’ll only agree to something unless they’re able to raise taxes.”