Release of Trump infrastructure plan may slip past January

The White House may be pushing back the release of its long-awaited infrastructure package yet again, just a month after saying it would come out by the end of January.

A White House official said Tuesday that there have been “no decisions yet on timing” for the release. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) separately told POLITICO — after a meeting with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and other officials — that administration officials are still deciding whether to publish legislative principles for the plan before or after the president’s State of the Union address Jan. 30.

A White House spokeswoman did not immediately comment Tuesday.

It’s unclear whether this represents a major snag for the infrastructure plan, which Trump’s aides have talked up as a big priority for 2018. The plan — aimed at creating as much as $1 trillion in federal, state and private spending — could also be another Continue reading “Release of Trump infrastructure plan may slip past January”

Trump takes credit for airlines’ safety record

President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to claim that his policies in his first year in the White House resulted in the commercial aviation industry posting its safest year ever in 2017 — though the U.S. had gone years without a U.S. commercial airline fatality before he took office.

“Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

Trump was referring to reports that 2017 marked the safest year in global commercial aviation ever, with no passenger jet fatalities recorded. But, as Reuters reported, there were fatalities in accidents involving turboprop airplanes and cargo aircraft.

Still, the U.S. has gone years without a U.S. commercial airline fatality. There has not been an accidental death on a domestic Continue reading “Trump takes credit for airlines’ safety record”

Senate confirms Bradbury after fight over ‘torture memos’

The Senate on Tuesday narrowly confirmed Steven Bradbury to join the Department of Transportation, with two Republicans voting with Democrats in opposition over Bradbury’s authorship of so-called torture memos during the George W. Bush administration.

The 50-47 vote came after an impassioned plea from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who joined Democrats in a push to derail Bradbury’s confirmation as the general counsel at DOT. McCain did change one mind, however, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voting no after crossing the aisle to support Bradbury on a key procedural vote Monday.

Manchin said in an interview after the vote that he "would try to be supportive of any administration" on nominees and that Bradbury had impressed him during their meeting. But when McCain called him Tuesday to personally ask for a no vote, Manchin said, he changed course "because of John’s service to our country, my respect and Continue reading “Senate confirms Bradbury after fight over ‘torture memos’”

Trump’s air traffic overhaul faces bumpy skies

A House Republican plan to place the nation’s air traffic control system in private hands is closer than ever to becoming reality — but not even President Donald Trump’s outspoken support has cleared away all the obstacles.

A month after Trump offered his public support in a White House speech, the proposal to split up the Federal Aviation Administration still faces opposition from rural interests, small-plane owners and key Republicans in Congress, where the to-do list for returning lawmakers is piled high with big tasks like repealing Obamacare and rewriting the tax code.

One crucial lawmaker says he’s not even sure how strongly Trump supports the proposal, which would represent the most dramatic overhaul of U.S. aviation in a century.

“Well, you know, the president — it’s kind of funny because he hasn’t mentioned that to me, and I’m the one that he would mention it to, and I’ve Continue reading “Trump’s air traffic overhaul faces bumpy skies”

Trump’s infrastructure pitch adds to legislative pileup

Health care and tax reform legislation are on ice, Congress faces a time crunch to prepare a budget and avoid a debt crisis this summer, and the White House is under pressure from the Russia investigations. But President Donald Trump is trying to turn D.C.’s focus this week to two other mammoth pitches — privatizing air traffic control and promoting his $1 trillion infrastructure plan.

The problems: Capitol Hill aides say a broad infrastructure bill isn’t going anywhere any time soon either. And the proposed air-safety overhaul failed to even make it to the House floor when GOP lawmakers proposed it a year ago.

Continuing to toss ambitious proposals into an already-stuffed legislative calendar poses a danger for Trump: If he and Congress can’t regroup to focus on one priority at a time, they could end up seeing the president’s three biggest policy objectives — tax reform, health Continue reading “Trump’s infrastructure pitch adds to legislative pileup”

Trump pivots to infrastructure as he enters bruising week

The White House next week plans a full-throated infrastructure push, including unveiling more details on its vision for overhauling both the nation’s air traffic control system and federal permitting requirements for road projects.

The administration will spend several days rolling out at least some more details about priorities for its $1 trillion infrastructure plan and talking up the need for additional investment, during a week that’s otherwise expected to be full of loud and potentially damaging news about the FBI and Russia.

So far the administration has offered few details on its infrastructure proposals, aside from a six-page fact sheet it slipped into its 2018 budget proposal last month.

President Donald Trump will kick off the week Monday in the Oval Office by rolling out legislative principles encouraging Congress to split air traffic control away from the Federal Aviation Administration and place it under a private, non-governmental entity – a Continue reading “Trump pivots to infrastructure as he enters bruising week”

Trump slips infrastructure plan into budget

The Trump administration finally laid out its long-promised vision for a $1 trillion national infrastructure plan Tuesday — with nary a peep of fanfare and the president not even in the country to talk it up.

It arrived as a six-page fact sheet packaged with President Donald Trump’s $4.1 trillion proposed 2018 budget. As expected, it laid out a vision for $200 billion in direct federal spending over the next decade on needs such as roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads and expanded broadband, along with incentives for states, cities and private investors and efforts to reduce the burdens of regulations.

“The administration’s goal is to seek long-term reform on how infrastructure projects are regulated, funded, delivered and maintained,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told reporters Tuesday. She said the administration expects “to have more details forthcoming,” including a legislative package later this year, but described the concepts handed out Tuesday as Continue reading “Trump slips infrastructure plan into budget”