The Latest: Key Democrat hopes to work with Trump on roads
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress in the wake of Tuesday’s midterm election (all times local):
A key Democratic lawmaker says he had private discussions with the Trump administration before the election about working together on an infrastructure bill.
Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon said Wednesday his goal is to pass a $500 billion package of road, bridge and transit improvements in the first six months of next year. DeFazio is likely to become chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
DeFazio describes infrastructure legislation as “a place of potential common ground.”
Still, it will be hard to get past a key stumbling block: how to pay for it.
But DeFazio says that obstacle can be overcome with President Donald Trump. He says: “This guy’s a builder. He gets it. It takes investment and real money.”
A Massachusetts Democrat who is poised to take charge of a powerful House committee says he plans to ask for President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
Rep. Richard Neal said, “Yes, I think we will,” when asked Wednesday whether the House Ways and Means Committee would seek the documents.
Neal says he hopes Trump will release the tax returns on his own, but notes that he’ll have the power to ask for them as chairman. He says such a request will probably face legal challenges.
Trump has refused to release his tax returns, breaking with standard practice.
On Wednesday, Trump suggested Republicans would retaliate if Democrats use their new House majority to issue subpoenas and investigate his businesses. Democrats take control of the House in January.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will “strive for bipartisanship” when they take over the majority next year after wresting control of the House in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
Pelosi, who is expected to run for a second stint as speaker, said Democrats “have a responsibility to seek common ground where we can,” adding: “Where we cannot, we must stand our ground.”
Pelosi says she worked productively with President George W. Bush when she was speaker a decade ago and would like to do so again with President Donald Trump. She said, “We’d like to work together so our legislation will be bipartisan.”
Still, Pelosi said Democrats weren’t elected to be “a rubber stamp” for Trump and said Democrats would act as a “check and balance” on the Republican president.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she has no regrets about discouraging Democratic candidates from engaging with President Donald Trump on immigration issues during the midterm elections.
She says it was important “not to take the bait like the president was putting out there.”
Pelosi spoke to reporters Wednesday, a day after Democrats won control of the House for the next two years.
She says immigrants come to the U.S. with values such as determination, courage and optimism, and that they make the country more American. She says other presidents saw that, but “this president used it in fearmongering. I just don’t think that’s right.”
But she says that in order to get into a position to fight Trump on the issue, Democrats had to first win on issues affecting the financial security of working families.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says she’s confident she will win enough support to be elected speaker of the House next year.
The California Democrat says she is the “best person” for the job and the person most capable of unifying Democrats now that they have won the majority.
Speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Pelosi says her pitch for another turn with the gavel is about the future. She says, “it’s not about what you have done, it’s about what you can do.”
Democrats won the House majority on Tuesday evening, securing the 218 seats needed for the majority. Pelosi was speaker when Democrats last held the majority in 2010.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will have a “responsibility for oversight” when they take charge of the House in January.
If elected speaker, Pelosi said Wednesday she will leave final decisions about that oversight to committees. She wouldn’t answer a question about whether they will seek President Donald Trump’s tax filings
But she said committee requests for documents or hearings won’t be “scattershot.”
Democrats are expected to investigate Trump’s business dealings, his Cabinet’s conduct and his campaign’s ties to Russia.
Pelosi said “we’ll know what we are doing and we’ll do it right.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans and Democrats will have to work together to fix problems with former President Barack Obama’s health care law.
McConnell said Wednesday that the state of the nation’s health care system is “still a crisis” and those problems will have to be addressed in a bipartisan way because Democrats will control the House.
He said no one is satisfied with the current system and there will be a divided government, so “I think the message is, figure out what you can do together and do it.”
Republican proposals to repeal the law failed to pass the Senate last year, dooming the effort while Republicans had full control of Congress and the presidency.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the contentious, partisan fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination was “very helpful” in winning Senate seats in Tuesday’s election.
McConnell said Republicans were worried by voter apathy on their side but the debate over Kavanaugh was like an “adrenaline shot” to GOP voters.
He said he thinks core Republican voters were “highly offended” by Democrats’ tactics in the debate. He said Democrats questioned Kavanaugh’s presumption of innocence.
Kavanaugh was confirmed last month after a California professor accused him of sexual assault when both were teenagers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s a “good morning” for Republicans. He says President Donald Trump helped keep the Senate in GOP hands.
The Kentucky Republican spoke Wednesday morning, hours after midterm election voters kept the Senate controlled by Republicans, even as they flipped the House to a Democratic majority.
McConnell told reporters of the Senate elections: “We had a very good day. I’m proud of what happened. The president was very helpful to us.”
McConnell warned that Democrats in the House will have to decide how much they want to “harass” Trump.
The Kentucky Republican said he can’t imagine taking up immigration legislation this year.
This story has been corrected to show that Pelosi is California Democrat, not Republican.