GOP outlines priorities for 2018, including push for infrastructure overhaul

By  | 

GREENBRIER COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA Roads, bridges and highways across the country could see renovations if Republicans advance a sweeping infrastructure plan.

Today, that’s part of what Republicans - including President Donald Trump - are discussing at an annual retreat in West Virginia.

Our Washington Bureau’s Alana Austin reports from the Greenbrier.

Right now, Republicans are discussing their strategy for the year.

At the top of the agenda - strengthening the military, economy and infrastructure.

One West Virginia lawmaker says more federal support could go a long way in boosting his state.

"This is an exciting time. I’m proud to have my colleagues here. They’re seeing firsthand what I’ve been telling them - we’re scenic beauty. We are proximity to market. We are job-creating potential and hard-working," said Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV).

Jenkins, who serves on the House Appropriations committee, says he’s fighting for West Virginians to see more funding for roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, plus broadband access.

“We’re going to bat for our state each and every day," said Jenkins.

GOP South Dakota Senator John Thune says a reform package could mean a one to two trillion dollar investment on infrastructure, with support from state and local governments and businesses.

He hopes a final plan would set aside 25 percent of public funds for rural projects.

“We believe that working together - House, Senate, administration - that this can be a very productive year," said Thune.

The challenge for Republicans: getting on the same page.

But during the President's visit Thursday to the retreat, he says Speaker Paul Ryan told him there’s a dramatic shift.

"He said to me he has never even seen the Republican Party so united,” said President Donald Trump.

Thursday, Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outlined overall goals of 20-8 without providing much new detail.

They highlighted positive economic trends since last year's tax cuts.

"Think of it this way - taking your foot off the brake and putting it on the accelerator," said Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

As this conference comes to a close, Congress needs to figure out how to fund the federal government past next week.

Despite strained relationship with Democrats, GOP leaders are saying they do not expect another shutdown anytime soon.

Tonight's featured speaker for the final night of the retreat is US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.

Republican meetings are supposed to wrap up on Friday.

Read the original version of this article at www.graydc.com.