- President Donald Trump called on Congress to pass a $US1.5 trillion infrastructure plan during his first official State of the Union address Tuesday night.
- The proposal failed to impress Democrats, who have long been pushing for an infrastructure package.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s call for a sweeping infrastructure plan during his first official State of the Union address fell on deaf ears among Democrats Tuesday night.
“I am asking both parties to come together to give us the safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure our economy needs and our people deserve,” Trump said. “Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $US1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment we need.”
But the infrastructure proposal, often a favourite topics among Democratic lawmakers, failed to impress a body already dissatisfied with his presidency. Following his speech, Democrats suggested Trump made an empty promise, failing to specify how to pay for an infrastructure plan.
“Look, everybody wants to see infrastructure happen,” said Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama. “I think the question is how to pay for it – that’s a lot of money with the tax bill that came out.”
“Everybody knew he was gonna talk about infrastructure. Everybody’s talking about it,” Jones added. “I don’t think there was a major step tonight any more than we’ve seen in the past. But at least it’s on the table for us to talk about.”
Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, told Business Insider that the $US1.5 trillion commitment from Trump is “a good number” but that he needs to know “how it’s going to be paid for.”
“There was no comment about where the money would come from,” King said. “That’s what worries me.”
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said the proposal is “a lot of money” and noted that West Virginia needs “a lot of infrastructure.”
“We need to figure out now and I wanna see where the money’s coming from and things to pay for it,” he added.
But the hefty $US1.5 trillion that Trump pledged is not enough due to the way funds are distributed, according to Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee.
“The problem is that the plan and the details matter,” Kildee told Business Insider. “What he’s really talking about is $US200 billion of federal money and a lot of state and local money that’s already being spent. So it actually goes from what we were told would be a trillion dollars to something one fifth that size in terms of the federal investment.”
“So this is actually going small on infrastructure because he assumes that the money that goes to state and local governments are spending right now can somehow be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled,” Kildee added.
Kildee, whose district is still reeling from the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, said despite the large spending figure, Trump’s proposal “is really not a big and bold plan.”
“This is kind of checking the box and saying that we’re gonna do infrastructure when it literally guarantees that there’ll be more Flint, Michigans and more bridge collapses,” he said. “This is not a step in the right direction.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.