NJ Politics Digest: Trump Bails Out Farmers, Murphy Scratches His Head

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 23: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump gestures to an exhibitor during the 2018 Made in America Product Showcase July 23, 2018 at the White House in Washington, DC. The White House held the showcase to "celebrates every state's effort and commitment to American-made products, and will allow these companies to speak with senior Administration officials, including the President, the Vice President, members of the Cabinet, and senior staff."
U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

When you start a trade war, sometimes you have to act quickly to help the casualties.

But now that President Donald Trump has proposed awarding $12 billion to appease farmers hurt when he imposed tariffs on China, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has been left scratching his head.

That’s because it’s about the same amount of money that the federal government had once committed to spending on what some say is the most critical infrastructure project in the nation. That’s the plan for the Gateway Tunnel, a proposal Trump has adamantly opposed.

“Believe me, we’ve noted the irony,” Murphy said Wednesday, according to a report in NJ.com.

The farmer bailout might be politically expedient. Trump’s tariffs are hurting people in the heart of his political base.

But supporters of the Gateway project, which includes building a new train tunnel under the Hudson River, say failure to fund the project could lead to a situation where existing tunnels under the Hudson must be closed for repair with no replacement, leading to an economic crisis that could impact the nation.

Trump, who campaigned on a promise to restore the United States’ crumbling infrastructure, has expressed opposition to the Gateway plan. Federal transportation officials have complained that previous agreements called for too much federal funding and not enough of a commitment from states.

Some critics claim Trump is using Gateway funding as a way to get back at Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is from New York and is a frequent critic of the president.

Murphy, who explained between 12 and 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product runs between Washington, D.C. and Boston, said he was confident the project will eventually be completed.

“The new tunnel will get built—that’s not the question,” Murphy said, according to a report in NJ.com. “The question is will it be built because we’ve planned it and we did it the right way, or because we had a disaster and we had no other choice.”

Quote of the Day: “You told me we’re going to fix it. We’re going to look at how we’re spending money. We’re going to look at taxation. Nothing’s happened. Nothing. All I’ve got is a tax increase.” — Fox Business host Stuart Varney, lambasting Senate President Steve Sweeney for failing to deliver on promises to address New Jersey’s tax burden.

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