President Donald Trump reportedly threatened to veto the $1 trillion budget to fund the government if it includes funding for a tunnel project connecting New York City and New Jersey.
Trump reportedly told House Speaker Paul Ryan to keep $900 million for the tunnel project out of the omnibus bill, which funds the government past March 23, but now the president indicates he’s willing to derail the budget to prevent the project, Politico reported.
“We definitely had the commitment,” New York Republican Rep. Peter King told Politico of reaching a deal with Trump to back the Gateway project. “It was just dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. The president was completing [New York Democratic Sen. Chuck] Schumer’s sentences and my sentences, and he even got after [New York Democratic Gov. Andrew] Cuomo for not asking for more money for JFK airport!”
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Trump’s support for the project, which would double the number of trains that could travel between Newark, N.J., and New York City, shifted from being a top priority in transition documents on infrastructure. The White House now views the project as something New Jersey and New York taxpayers should pay for.
“The president is concerned about the viability of this project and the fact that New York and New Jersey have no skin in the game,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said during a Senate hearing Tuesday. The two states have committed $6 billion to the project, but most of that money comes from federal loans.
“They need to step up and bear their fair share,” Chao said. “They are two of the richest states in the country. If they absorb all these funds, there will be no other funds for the rest of the country.”
Trump could also dislike the project because it would help Schumer — a possibility the Democrats are quick to point out.
“This is vitally important to the northeast corridor and to the entire U.S. economy,” Schumer told Politico. “Jobs, income and growth are all at stake. No one should be playing politics with it.”
Democratic Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, the other senator from New York, reportedly got into a heated debate with Chao, who said there would be no funding while Democrats held up confirmations of Trump appointees.
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