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Trump Calls for Infrastructure, Health Care Overhaul

  • VOA News

President Donald Trump gestures to the crowd after speaking during a rally at Rivertowne Marina, June 7, 2017, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

President Donald Trump called for a bipartisan effort Wednesday to overhaul the country's crumbling infrastructure.

"I’m calling on all Republicans and Democrats to join in the great rebuilding of America," Trump told supporters in the Midwestern city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rebuilding the nation's infrastructure initially was believed to have been supported by Republican and Democratic lawmakers. But many Democrats are opposed to Trump's plans for financing the overhaul, arguing they would result in taxpayer-funded corporate profits, with the costs absorbed by consumers.

The White House hopes to execute the infrastructure plan primarily through public-private partnerships. It has proposed funding the overhaul with $200 billion in tax breaks over nine years that would theoretically result in $1 trillion worth of construction.

The president said capital improvements to the infrastructure have been "massively underfunded," resulting in "an $8.7 billion maintenance backlog that is only getting worse."

"The theft of American prosperity has come to a screeching halt," Trump told a crowd at a marina on the Ohio River.

The White House is promoting this week as "infrastructure week" with a series of events that began Monday when the president announced plans to privatize the federal government's air traffic control system.

People are seen gathered to hear President Donald Trump as he speaks about infrastructure at Rivertowne Marina in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 7, 2017.
People are seen gathered to hear President Donald Trump as he speaks about infrastructure at Rivertowne Marina in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 7, 2017.

​Trump’s visit to Ohio came on the eve of former FBI director James Comey's testimony Thursday before Congress as the White House faces new allegations about possible efforts by Trump to influence a probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Before addressing the gathering at the marina, Trump discussed plans to repeal and replace the country's health insurance law at Cincinnati's municipal airport. The president was joined by two families he described as "victims" of the law, commonly known as Obamacare.

"Obamacare is in a total death spiral," he said, and added "health care is more about so much more than dollars and cents. It’s about real people."

Trump applauded the House of Representatives for narrowly approving a Republican replacement health care bill early last month after an earlier effort failed. The Senate is crafting its own version of the bill, which he said likely would have to be approved without Democratic support.

"We will not get no votes, no matter what we do," the president said. "If we gave you the greatest plan in the history of the world, you would have no Democratic votes."

Senate Republican leaders are urging a vote on the bill before the July Fourth holiday recess, even though intraparty disagreements have delayed progress on the measure.

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