With Republicans wary of more coronavirus spending, Trump urges infrastructure plan

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference, following a Senate vote on the coronavirus relief bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican lawmakers signaled caution on Tuesday over Democratic plans to prepare another large spending bill to battle the coronavirus crisis, even as President Donald Trump called for $2 trillion in spending, this time on infrastructure.

Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress needs to take up a fourth coronavirus-related bill to focus on recovery in the aftermath of the outbreak. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, urged a “wait-and-see” approach.

Trump took to Twitter to urge Congress to pass a massive $2 trillion plan to update the country’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure, a cause he has often espoused but never accomplished.

“With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill. It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump signed into law on Friday a $2.2 trillion package aimed at helping workers and businesses harmed by the coronavirus pandemic, the third bill that Congress has passed this month to address the outbreak.

U.S. coronavirus-related deaths reached 3,607 on Tuesday, exceeding the total number reported in China and reaching the third highest in the world behind Italy and Spain, according to a Reuters tally.

House Democrats are developing a “phase four” measure including improvements in infrastructure, such as telecommunications, electricity and water systems. Pelosi has noted the generally bipartisan appeal of infrastructure spending.

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