During a press conference on Capitol Hill, McConnell warned against trying to pass a “trillion-dollar stimulus” through a Republican-controlled Congress.
“It will be interesting to see how this is put together,” McConnell told reporters. “I hope we avoid a trillion-dollar stimulus.”
During the campaign, Trump touted a $1 trillion plan on infrastructure and said he would basically borrow money to pay for it. A statement on his transition website now says the incoming administration “seeks to invest $550 billion to ensure we can export our goods and move our people faster and safer.”
The president-elect doubled down on his plans after the election, telling Time magazine that “sometimes you have to prime the pump” ― evidently referring to the government’s role in jump-starting economic recovery.
Republicans have for years resisted the idea of government spending as a means to spur economic growth, blocking several of the Obama administration’s proposals to create jobs and fix the country’s infrastructure. McConnell and his House counterpart, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), led the charge against such initiatives. A big spending plan likely wouldn’t find much support among deficit-averse conservatives on the Hill next year, either.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said he welcomes the opportunity to work with Trump to pass the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, possibly using corporate tax reform as a means to pay for the measure.
But some Democrats are calling on lawmakers to oppose the plan right out of the gate, calling it a “trap” primarily paid for with tax breaks. Ron Klain, a former Obama administration official, warned last month that the plan would subsidize investors, not ready-made projects.
McConnell may be in a better position than most to parse this all out. Elaine Chao, his wife, is Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Transportation. The couple were spotted dining with the president-elect’s elder daughter, Ivanka, at Trump’s hotel in Washington, D.C., on Sunday night.
Also on HuffPost
How will Donald Trump’s first 100 days impact YOU? Subscribe, choose the community that you most identify with or want to learn more about and we’ll send you the news that matters most once a week throughout Trump’s first 100 days in office. Learn more