Trump is already complicating the next big Republican goal

  • 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 has been a cornerstone of the Trump campaign's and his administration's outlined infrastructure proposals.
  • President Donald Trump cast doubt on whether these types of partnerships actually work, according to a report, casting doubt on the path of the infrastructure plan. 


President Donald Trump appears to be complicating the GOP's next big legislative push as the party tries to build off the momentum from their 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 last weekend.

A large-scale infrastructure investment package stands to be one of the biggest goals for the GOP in 2018. 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.

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President Trump and Republicans attend retreat at Camp David
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President Trump and Republicans attend retreat at Camp David
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David, Maryland, U.S., January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives with members of the government and Republican leaders to speak to the media following the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David, Maryland, U.S., January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway walks in ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump after the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David, Maryland, U.S., January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David, Maryland, U.S., January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David, Maryland, U.S., January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David, Maryland, U.S., January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Donald Trump listens to Vice President Mike Pence speaking to the media after the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David, Maryland, U.S., January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to speak to the media following the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David, Maryland, U.S., January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Donald Trump leaves after speaking to the media after the Congressional Republican Leadership retreat at Camp David, Maryland, U.S., January 6, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
THURMONT, MD - JANUARY 6: (AFP OUT) Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks to the media after participating in meetings with President Donald Trump at Camp David on January 6, 2018 in Thurmont, Maryland. President Trump met with staff, members of his Cabinet and Republican members of Congress to discuss the Republican legislative agenda for 2018. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
THURMONT, MD - JANUARY 6: (AFP OUT) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to the media after participating in meetings with President Donald Trump at Camp David on January 6, 2018 in Thurmont, Maryland. President Trump met with staff, members of his Cabinet and Republican members of Congress to discuss the Republican legislative agenda for 2018. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
THURMONT, MD - JANUARY 6: (AFP OUT) U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson listens as Republicans take turns speaking to the media at Camp David on January 6, 2018 in Thurmont, Maryland. President Trump met with staff, members of his Cabinet and Republican members of Congress to discuss the Republican legislative agenda for 2018. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
THURMONT, MD - JANUARY 6: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the press after holding meetings at Camp David on January 6, 2018 in Thurmont, Maryland. President Trump met with staff, members of his Cabinet and Republican members of Congress to discuss the Republican legislative agenda for 2018. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a retreat with Republican lawmakers at Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland, January 6, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump, alongside Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (C) and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L), speaks during a retreat with Republican lawmakers and members of his Cabinet at Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland, January 6, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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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 last weekend that those types of partnerships don'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.

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High-profile Congressional Republicans
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High-profile Congressional Republicans
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
House of Representatives Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Senator Lindsey Graham
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AL)
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
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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.

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