President Trump’s callous remarks about infrastructure is receiving fire from several of his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Trump appeared to mock the expected infrastructure package that he and congressional leaders are negotiating. “There’s no money for roads. I mean, what the hell are we doing?” Trump said last week, talking about it as a “fake bill.”
Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) said Trump is just “mischaracterizing” the spending bill and that the bill does focus on creating jobs, rather than just pushing spending on other priorities.
“He’s just mischaracterizing the amount of money in that deal,” Womack told Fox News. “You’re talking about total new expenditure of $71 billion. You’re talking about $280 billion of investment in infrastructure. There’s a lot to like. We want to invest in roads, bridges, airports, airports that create new jobs.”
“And I guess, more importantly, we want to preserve the portions of our nation’s infrastructure that make it more competitive and that create more jobs,” Womack said.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), said: “The president was just making a characterization of the bill.”
Ryan reiterated that infrastructure deals are being made. He said he trusts the president when he says infrastructure spending is in the bill, but he said he’s waiting for the text of the legislation.
“It just took a little while to make sure we got it right,” Ryan said. “He’s been pretty good with his deliverables. I trust him, but I don’t know that I want to see him do that again.”
Trump is calling for $200 billion in federal funding, but the actual figure would be much higher, Womack said. Womack also criticized the president’s words for “insulting” Americans looking to work on infrastructure projects.
Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) said he doesn’t agree with Trump and will vote against the infrastructure package and the extension of the debt ceiling that is expected to come up for a vote in the coming weeks.
“The president has said that he’s not going to pay for the bill with a tax increase, but he’s done a pretty good job over the last four months of making it seem like the bill was being funded by raising taxes,” Byrne said. “I’m not really comfortable with calling this an infrastructure bill. I’ll call it the ‘taxpayer Bill of Rights Act.'”
Byrne also echoed Womack’s comments about Trump’s lack of understanding about the legislation he’s backing.
“They’re still squabbling,” Byrne said. “If you listen to it, I don’t think there is a lot of collaboration.”
Byrne said he can’t vote for the tax cuts that he voted for because they’re not permanent. He also said he doesn’t want to appear to support infrastructure if he’s not willing to support the bill itself.
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) also called Trump’s comments “cynical” and criticized Trump’s inability to clear political hurdles when it comes to infrastructure funding.
“I don’t think it’s a government-only bill that requires a lot of money from this side. I’m pleased with the massive increases on state and local resources,” LoBiondo said. “That’s what the states want. Now, if we can’t get the federal component in it, we can put it in as a condition of the federal dollars. You’ve got to get both sides cooperating.”
LoBiondo said Trump’s comments about the $200 billion figure are a “load of bull” and he’s not sure how Trump came up with the number.
Womack, meanwhile, said Democrats are twisting Trump’s words in order to push their agenda.
“I don’t know where it came from,” Womack said. “I’m just glad to see the president finally come up with something that he’ll be proud of for his legacy.”
– Fox News’ Bret Baier contributed to this report.