Snow slows down traffic on Interstate 40, Jan. 22, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. A blizzard menacing the Eastern United States started dumping snow in Virginia, Tennessee and other parts of the South. 
Photo by Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean/AP

Trump says ‘now is the time’ to invest in infrastructure (just not right now)

The White House surprised many this week by announcing plans for a “major” presidential speech. We learned soon after that Donald Trump would travel to Ohio, where the president would “try to revive” his stalled infrastructure initiative.

How’d that work out?

His appearance was billed as an attempt to promote his infrastructure plan, but Mr. Trump addressed it only briefly near the end of his remarks, and said it was unlikely to pass soon.

At one point in his remarks, the president said, “Now is the time to rebuild our country.” About a minute later, Trump added, “We probably have to wait until after the election.”

When he said “now,” he evidently didn’t mean now.

So much for “reviving” the White House infrastructure plan.

Why wait until 2019 when Republicans control all of the levers of federal power in 2018? Because as Reuters reported a few weeks ago, the GOP-led Congress has no interest in advancing Trump’s weak blueprint.

The U.S. Senate’s second highest-ranking Republican on Tuesday expressed doubt that Congress will pass legislation to increase infrastructure spending this year, citing time constraints.

Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, told reporters: “I think it will (be) challenging. I certainly would be happy if we could, but we’ve got a lot of things to do, that being one of them, and I don’t know if we will have time to get to that,” according to a transcript from his office.

President Donald Trump wants Congress to approve $200 billion in federal spending over 10 years designed to spur $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending.

Keep in mind, the problem really isn’t with Congress on this one. The arithmetic in the White House’s “plan” doesn’t make any sense, and there’s literally no reason to think $200 billion in federal spending – redirected from other priorities – would spur $1.5 trillion in investments.

What’s more, as we discussed earlier in the month, if lawmakers wanted to make infrastructure a priority, they could. Heck, they wrote, debated, and passed a $1.5 trillion tax plan over the course of a few weeks – which suggests they could make time for infrastructure if they really wanted to.

But they don’t, in large part because Trump’s plan is a joke.