infrastructure

Thursday's Hangout With Steven Mnuchin and Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Global elitism, FISA, a possible stock market dive pepper White House day

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly waits to speak in October as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during a press briefing. Kelly is leading White House efforts to strike an immigration deal. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A Treasury secretary says the Davos gathering of global elites isn’t a hangout for global elites. A press secretary says tweets that seemed to contradict each other didn’t contradict each other. A president predicts a stock market dive if he doesn’t get his way. In other words: Thursday at the White House.

Among the business-as-usual moments were White House officials blaming Democrats for delays on immigration and government-funding measures, even while the White House chief of staff was trying to close the deal, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announcing that taxpayers should see bigger paychecks next month — as long as new withholding tables the IRS is circulating work like they are designed to. 

Trump Defends Mental State, Makes DACA-for-Wall Pitch
President also appears willing to talk to Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump had a few things to say about “Fire and Fury” and its author at an impromptu press conference Saturday. The book is highly critical of Trump’s presidency. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, during a remarkable impromptu press conference, defended his mental fitness and declared himself willing to hold direct negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He also dug in on his demand that any immigration bill include funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Trump took questions at Camp David following a strategy session with GOP lawmakers, Cabinet officials and White House aides. He again denied he or his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. While the president did not flatly deny dispatching aides to try stopping Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Justice Department’s Russia probe, Trump contended he did nothing illicit.

Amtrak Safety — or Danger — Needs a Hearing, Cantwell Says
Transportation Chairman Thune planning to deliver one

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has requested a congressional hearing on Amtrak safety after the derailment Monday in her state that killed three. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Maria Cantwell has sent a letter requesting a congressional inquiry into Amtrak safety procedures in light of the Monday derailment in Washington state that killed three people and injured dozens more.

After Monday’s crash, at least 22 people have died as a result of Amtrak derailments and crashes since 2011. The train system has averaged roughly two derailments per month in recent years, Federal Railroad Administration statistics show.

Trump Predicts He’ll Start Working With Democrats in 2018
On Tuesday, president said Dems ‘complain a lot’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer makes a point to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office before leaving a White House meeting in September. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 2:30 p.m. | After scoring his first major legislative win without a single Democratic vote, President Donald Trump on Friday predicted Republicans and Democrats will begin working together “for the good of the country.”

And the first item the president, who has spent weeks criticizing Democratic lawmakers for opposing his tax plan and accusing them of favoring a government shutdown, sees the parties collaborating on is a massive package to upgrade the country’s infrastructure.

Tax Bill Eyes End to Project Finance, Stadium Bonds Deductions
Republicans say purpose is to eliminate tax breaks for private entities

Democratic and Republican lawmakers participate in the 2012 Congressional Baseball Game in Nationals Park. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Republican tax bill unveiled Thursday would eliminate a tax break for a major financing tool for public-private partnerships, one of several bond provisions that would affect projects including professional sports stadiums.

Under the bill, income from private activity bonds, a tool that state and local governments offer to help private entities raise money for projects that are deemed to have public benefit, would no longer be tax exempt. The provision would increase revenue by $38.9 billion over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Disaster Program Issues Loom Over Future Aid
As lawmakers dole out millions for Texas and Puerto Rico, oversight problems remain

A U.S. Army soldier tosses bottled water provided by FEMA to be passed on to residents in a neighborhood without grid electricity or running water on Oct. 17 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As lawmakers shuttle multiple supplemental spending packages through Congress to address the devastation from one of the worst hurricane seasons on record, federal audit reports show major ongoing problems with federal agencies’ ability to ensure money is spent correctly.

Tens of billions of dollars are expected to flow from two major sources: the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund and the Community Development Block Grant program, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But multiple federal watchdog reports demonstrate that lawmakers are in some cases funding repairs with little ability to ensure the work complies with federal law.

Analysis: In Puerto Rico, Trump Congratulates Himself
GOP mum on messaging; Schumer says enough

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing for Puerto Rico. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump arrived Tuesday in Puerto Rico and offered the hurricane-ravaged U.S. citizens not a truckload of drinkable water or fuel, but Trump himself and his team.

Trump’s day was one of countermessaging about his administration’s widely panned Puerto Rico relief efforts. He used a briefing minutes after he landed there to congratulate his team and solicit praise from Puerto Rican officials — lightly coaching them on what they should say.

Harvey Aid, Seen Topping Katrina and Sandy, May Be in Batches
Early projections estimate $150 billion

The city of Houston is still experiencing severe flooding in some areas due to the accumulation of historic levels of rainfall, though the storm has moved to the north and east. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The rebuilding of parts of Texas and potentially Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey may be the most expensive disaster relief effort ever, with early projections of federal aid soaring to $150 billion and raising the prospect of several congressional actions to pay for it.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said Wednesday he thinks federal aid in the wake of Hurricane Harvey should top what was provided after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 and Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast in 2012. 

Legislative Agenda Takes Back Seat to Trump’s ‘Beautiful Apartment’
Former Jeb Bush aide: ‘One step forward, one step back’

President Donald Trump opted against selling his legislative agenda in an address to supporters in Phoenix on Tuesday. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump roared, blamed, boasted, omitted and obfuscated Tuesday night at a campaign rally in Phoenix, but there was one thing he decided against doing: selling his stalled legislative agenda.

A night after delivering a measured and somewhat-detailed prime-time address that laid out his new counterterrorism-focused Afghanistan strategy, Trump’s criticism of the news media, his increasingly visible insecurities and his fixation on his political base took over just minutes into his remarks in the Valley of the Sun.

Analysis: At Trump Rally, It Was 2016 Again
President mixes fear with bold promises, big boasts before friendly crowd

President Donald Trump speaks during the annual Days of Remembrance Holocaust ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda on April 25, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump, echoing his populist 2016 campaign, mixed the politics of fear and bold promises as he returned to the campaign trail Tuesday evening in Ohio.

As he delivered parts of his remarks in Youngstown, it well could have been July 2016 with then-Republican nominee Trump at the podium. The world is more unsafe than ever. The United States has been run for too long by “stupid” politicians. People who wish to Americans harm are pouring over the southern border. Other countries are taking advantage of U.S. workers and consumers.