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Congressional Democratic Leaders Meet with President on Infrastructure Bill

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and other congressional Democrats met with President Donald Trump on April 30 to discuss an infrastructure package. According to media accounts, most of the discussion centered on the $2 trillion dollar price tag, which they agreed upon, and the funding source, which they did not agree upon.
 
Apparently, the focus was on federally funded infrastructure projects rather than permitting reforms that could facilitate privately funded initiatives. The latter includes energy infrastructure such as new pipelines, transmission lines, and export facilities, all of which would be undertaken without taxpayer money, but need a more timely and predictable permit approval process. 
 
Separately, the administration has instituted permit streamlining initiatives (including a recent executive order focused on energy infrastructure), but progress thus far has been limited, largely due to deep-state resistance—think of all the lawyers and consultants whose meters are running throughout these years-long permit review periods, along with the politicians, bureaucrats, and activists who oppose building almost anything new. 
 
Any infrastructure bill should include at least some useful permit streamlining provisions. For example, the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 1087, H.R. 2205), which would prevent the misuse of the Clean Water Act to delay or derail proposed projects based on global warming concerns. 
 
Unfortunately, Schumer and Pelosi released a letter to the president prior to their meeting that suggested that, rather than streamlining the permitting process, they want to make it more cumbersome by tacking on additional climate change-related requirements. In other words, they are interested in an anti-infrastructure environmental bill, not an infrastructure bill.