Democratic congressional leaders are insisting that any deal cut with President Trump on legislation to rebuild the nation’s ailing infrastructure include provisions intended to promote clean energy and combat climate change.
With Democrats poised to take control of the House in January, Trump has suggested that investing in infrastructure could be a shared priority, given the Democratic Party has long advocated public spending as a means to create jobs.
In an op-ed published Thursday night in The Washington Post, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that he sees potential for compromise with Trump but “if the president wanted to earn Democratic support in the Senate, any infrastructure bill would have to include policies and funding that help transition our country to a clean-energy economy and mitigate the risks the United States already faces from climate change.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whom Democrats have nominated to be speaker next year, echoed those sentiments in a statement Friday morning, saying “when Democrats take the gavel, we will rebuild America with clean energy, smart technology and resilient infrastructure.”
Trump, a Republican who campaigned on addressing the nation’s aging infrastructure, unveiled a long-awaited plan in February that received a cool reception from members of both parties, who said the president had not presented a viable way to pay for it.
The plan focused on $1.5 trillion in new spending on infrastructure over the coming decade but relied heavily on states, localities and the private sector to cover the costs of new roads, bridges, waterways and other public works projects.
A plan released earlier by Senate Democrats would have relied far more heavily on direct federal government spending than Trump’s plan, which included $200 billion in federal spending with the aim of enticing several times that amount from other levels of government.
In his op-ed, Schumer cited several provisions that were included in the Senate Democrats’ plan that he said must be part of a deal with Trump, as well as some additional provisions.
The provisions include “massive investments” in renewable-energy infrastructure and steps to make electrical grids, and water and wastewater systems, more “climate-resilient.”
The new provisions suggested by Schumer include tax credits for clean-energy production, electric vehicles and energy-efficient homes. He also called on additional investments on public lands.
“No doubt, a single infrastructure bill alone will not solve our climate problem,” Schumer wrote. “But it is an important and necessary first step to include at least some, if not many, of these ideas. Without them, Trump should not count on Democratic support in the Senate.”