Trump is already complicating the next big Republican goal

Gary Cohn and Donald Trump.

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Gary Cohn and Donald Trump.
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Getty Images/Pool

  • One of the White House’s big 2018 pushes is expected to be a massive infrastructure investment package.
  • The idea of private-public partnerships to fund the new projects was a cornerstone of the infrastructure proposals outlined by the Trump campaign and administration.
  • Over the weekend, President Donald Trump cast doubt on whether these types of partnerships actually worked, according to a report, potentially complicating the path of the infrastructure plan.

President Donald Trump appears to be complicating Republicans’ next big legislative push as the party tries to build off the momentum from its federal tax overhaul.

According to The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey, Trump raised doubts about the plan for a large infrastructure investment that was presented at a meeting of Republican leaders over the weekend.

A large-scale infrastructure investment package stands to be one of the GOP’s biggest goals in 2018. The White House economic adviser Gary Cohn repeatedly talked up the prospects of an infrastructure package after the passage of the tax law.

But when Cohn presented the outline of a plan for the infrastructure push during a Camp David meeting, Trump was not sold on a key aspect of the proposal, The Post said.

At the center of the package is the idea that major projects would be the result of private-public partnerships – in which a private company shoulders a significant amount of the financial burden for the project in return for an ownership stake. This is similar to the infrastructure proposal Trump proposed during the 2016 campaign.

But according to The Post, Trump argued over the weekend that those types of partnerships didn’t work. Trump has previously cited examples of failed private-public partnerships in meetings with Democrats and other members of Congress in September.

The GOP summit at the Camp David presidential retreat was designed for Trump administration officials and congressional Republican leaders to home in on the next pieces of their agenda.

Private-public partnerships are designed to avoid a large increase in government debt while still investing in larger projects like roads and bridges. Many Republicans cited a projected $1 trillion-plus increase in the federal deficit as reason for concern on the tax bill. In the end, only a handful of Republicans in the House voted against the tax package despite those concerns.

Democrats and other experts have argued that public-private partnerships incentivize building revenue-generating projects like toll roads that are unnecessary, instead of investing in repairs and improvements to existing infrastructure.

The White House is expected to roll out a formal infrastructure plan in the next few weeks.