NJ Politics Digest: Could Trump’s Gateway Hostility Trigger a Government Shutdown?

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and President Donald Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, right, and President Donald Trump. Alex Wong/Getty Images

It’s one of the biggest proposed infrastructure projects in the country, and the Gateway Tunnel Project is also becoming one of the biggest political soap operas in Washington.

The latest twist came Thursday, following reports by POLITICO that President Donald Trump has threatened to veto a $1 trillion-plus omnibus spending package needed to keep the government open past March 23 if it contains money for the $13 billion tunnel, part of the larger, $30-billion Gateway plan.

The stance has Trump threatening to veto a funding bill coming from a Congress controlled by his party, POLITICO noted. New Jersey Republican Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is chair of the House Appropriations Committee and is a supporter of the Gateway project. While conservative members of his party share the president’s opposition to the project, which they deem too expensive, Frelinhuysen has championed the plan and has worked to secure funding for it.

An Obama-era agreement requires New York and New Jersey to pay half the cost of the work, with the federal government covering the other half.

It’s been reported that Trump has targeted Gateway as payback for Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who represents New York. Trump is reportedly angry at Schumer for styming his agenda and appointments. The POLITICO report also says the president views withholding funding for the project as a way to force Schumer to agree to fund Trump’s plan for a border wall and other projects.

Quote of the Day: “In a democratic society, policy-making often doesn’t come easy or quietly. And the most intense debates often lead to heavy lobbying activity.” — Jeff Brindle, executive director of the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, on the large amount spent on lobbying in the state in 2017.

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NJ Politics Digest: Could Trump’s  Gateway Hostility Trigger a Government Shutdown?