Congress isn’t like to pass much in the way of major legislation this year, but there’s still hope for progress on a couple of fronts: infrastructure and prescription drug pricing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that she’s “very optimistic” about being able to reach a bipartisan deal on both.
And on Wednesday, President Trump urged Democrats to focus on those legislative priorities instead of investigating his administration. “Get back to infrastructure, get back to cutting taxes, get back to lowering drug prices,” he told reporters, according to CNBC.
Infrastructure: Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are set to meet with President Trump next Tuesday to discuss a potential plan. "We'll be meeting with the president next week when we come back to talk about what the prospect is for the size in terms of resources and scope of what that might be," Pelosi said at the Time 100 Summit on Tuesday.
Trump has called an infrastructure deal “the easiest thing” he could achieve with Democrats. "The president wants a bipartisan infrastructure package that rebuilds crumbling infrastructure, invests in the projects and industries of tomorrow, and promotes permitting efficiency," a White House spokesperson told Bloomberg News. And Pelosi on Tuesday said that tackling the issue "in a green way" has "never really been partisan."
Even so, finding agreement on funding details and environmental provisions won’t exactly be simple. Pelosi has said she wants an infrastructure package of at least $1 trillion, though she would rather it be closer to $2 trillion, Bloomberg notes. Trump has proposed spending $200 billion over 10 years to spur $800 billion or more in state, local and private funding. Bridging that large difference will be one issue. Agreeing on how to pay for the additional spending will be another.
Prescription drug prices: “The White House and top lawmakers from both parties think a bill to lower drug prices has a better chance of becoming law before the 2020 election than any other controversial legislation,” Axios’s Jonathan Swan and Caitlin Owens reported this week. Pelosi on Tuesday indicated a deal with Trump on drug prices should be possible. "In our conversations at the staff level and my conversations with him, I think we can find a path to do that," she said.
The bottom line: These may still be the areas with the best chances of bipartisan cooperation, but the mounting Democratic calls for Trump’s impeachment and the looming 2020 election are bound to cast a sizable shadow, potentially darkening the prospects for any significant legislative action.