Democrats’ infrastructure plan includes billions of dollars to expand the country’s passenger rail network, improve Amtrak stations and services, maintain ports and harbors, increase climate resiliency and further address greenhouse gas pollution. It would also dedicate funds to expand broadband access, a response in part to the extent that millions of Americans have depended on internet connectivity while staying at home to slow the spread of the virus.
Senate Republicans support an infrastructure plan put forward by Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, along with Senators Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the committee, Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, and Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland. The legislation advanced through the committee unanimously in July.
Mr. Trump mentioned the measure, which would authorize $287 billion over five years and includes $259 billion to maintain and repair roads and bridges, in his State of the Union address in February. And before posting his call for infrastructure investment on Twitter, he spoke with Mr. Barrasso about incorporating that measure into the future legislative response to the pandemic.
“As we look to the things we can do to help the economy after the medical crisis is behind us, clearly funding roads and bridges and highways should be a part of that,” Mr. Barrasso said in an interview on Wednesday. “It’s a way to get people back to work and get money directly to the states where it can be used and deployed to projects that are already on the books and ready for funding.”
Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Neal were in frequent communication about the possibilities of an infrastructure package well before the pandemic reached the United States. In the fall, the Treasury secretary privately told the Ways and Means Committee chairman that an infrastructure bill would be next in line after the House passed the administration’s revised North American trade agreement, which it did in December, according to a person familiar with the conversation who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Ms. Pelosi said it was crucial that the package include Democrats’ proposals for expanding broadband access across the country.
“This is so essential because of the historic nature of the health and economic emergencies that we are confronting,” Ms. Pelosi said on Wednesday. “We must take bold action to renew America’s infrastructure.”