Economic, Health, International

Trump pushes 2 tln USD infrastructure package to bolster COVID-19 damaged economy


 WASHINGTON, April 01-- U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday floated the idea of a 2-trillion-dollar infrastructure package as part of the government's next-phase response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has continued sweeping across the country.
   "With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill," Trump said in a tweet.
   "It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country!" he said.
   U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democratic, told reporters Monday that Democrats are in the early stages of drafting a major COVID-19 relief package, which could include significant investments in infrastructure.
   In another tweet, the U.S. president teased that he took a look at what Pelosi had to say and what moves she was planning to "further hurt our country," and found that "she wasn't bad."
   Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, meanwhile, seemed less interested. "I think we'll have to wait and see," he said on conservative Hugh Hewitt's radio program on Tuesday morning, noting that a 2.2-trillion-dollar relief package was only signed into law on Friday.
   "I'm not going to allow this to be an opportunity for the Democrats to achieve unrelated policy items that they would not otherwise be able to pass," McConnell said.
   Democrats hope that the new bill could include measures to support health systems and protect frontline health care workers, further strengthen family and medical leave programs, and could also boost assistance for state and local governments, according to a report from Politico.
   At a White House briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Trump reiterated his interest in a 2-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. "Wouldn't this be a great time to borrow money at zero interest rate and really build our infrastructure like we can do it?" he told reporters.
   Noting that the Democrats suggested a nearly 1-trillion-dollar infrastructure package, while Republicans proposed a little bit less than that, Trump said "I am suggesting two trillion dollars, we redo our roads, our highways, our bridges, we fix up our tunnels, which, many of them in bad shape."
   Experts, lawmakers and even Trump himself have long pushed to revamp America's infrastructure, but talks between Democratic leaders and the White House fell apart last April, when Trump walked out of an infrastructure meeting, slamming Democrats for investigating his administration.Xinhua