President Trump is considering whether to issue a tremendous amount of government debt to finance a $1 trillion investment in U.S. infrastructure, which would mark a major break from his campaign pledge to attract large quantities of private money to finance upgrades to roads, bridges, ports and numerous other facilities.
Trump’s new view is that the United States can borrow money so cheaply now because of low interest rates that it makes sense to borrow the money, according to comments he made in an interview with the New York Times. He also said that an infrastructure arrangement that includes public and private money “can be very expensive.”
“We are borrowing very inexpensively,” Trump told the New York Times. “When you can borrow so inexpensively, you don’t have to do the public/private thing.”
Trump was asked if the total federal commitment could be $200 billion or $300 billion, but he answered quickly, “No. More than that. Much more than that.”
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His comments show the rapid evolution on one of his top campaign priorities — a major investment in infrastructure that he believes will create millions of new jobs. He also said he believes Democrats and labor unions will rally to his support.
“We want to do a great infrastructure plan, and on that side I will say that we’re going to have, I believe, tremendous Democrat support,” he said.
Trump said the support from Democrats could be so strong that he’s considering whether to package the infrastructure plan with a health-care overhaul bill to win bipartisan support. This idea does not seem to be one under consideration on Capitol Hill.
Gabe Horwitz, the director of the economic program at the centrist research group Third Way, said that a bipartisan deal combining infrastructure with health-care reform was unlikely, given the divisions between Republicans and Democrats on the Affordable Care Act. “I think that just completely misses the mark,” Horwitz said. “Democrats are never going to support these efforts to completely gut Obama’s signature health-care law.”