March 30, 2018 12:45 PM, EDT

White House Economist Kevin Hassett Says Piecemeal Approach to Infrastructure Is Doable

Donald Trump, Paul Ryan Also Amenable, if That's What Congress Decides
White House Economic Adviser Kevin Hassett Hassett by Fox Business

The White House will aim to inject President Donald Trump’s infrastructure policy priorities whenever congressional leaders signal the advancement of a bill, Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said March 29.

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This piecemeal legislative approach on Trump’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure proposal also is embraced by the president, and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

“If Congress wants to do things a little bit at a time, then every single time they legislate we’re going to be looking for infrastructure progress,” Hassett said on Fox Business. He went on to emphasize, however, “We’re going to continue to have our eye on the prize on making progress and getting the whole plan into law.”

Last month, the White House unveiled a $200 billion infrastructure proposal that its authors claim could lead to $1.5 trillion in investments over 10 years. Officials did not specify the source of funding for the proposal’s federal component. Nonfederal funds would drive most of the plan’s investments.

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A report the Council of Economic Advisers unveiled March 28 claimed the White House’s proposal could create thousands of jobs across the infrastructure sector.

“The president’s plan would likely result in the employment of 290,000 to 414,000 additional infrastructure workers, on average, over a 10-year window, although these employment gains may be offset by losses elsewhere in the economy,” according to the report. “Infrastructure jobs are particularly lucrative for, and disproportionately employ, workers with a high school degree or less.”

Earlier this month, Senate Democrats proposed undoing provisions in the recent GOP-led tax overhaul to fund a $1 trillion infrastructure package.