ROCKVILLE – Members of Montgomery County’s congressional delegation said they have some common ground where they believe they can work with the President-elect Donald Trump.
Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen (D) said he could work with Trump on a possible national infrastructure bill.
“That’s one of the issues he talked about, not only during the campaign, it was the one issue mentioned the evening he got the electoral votes necessary to be president,” Van Hollen said. “He came out on stage and mentioned that issue specifically and it’s one that I have done a lot of work on trying to promote. It would be great if we could actually make some progress on that.”
While many fiscally conservative congressional Republicans previously opposed large scale infrastructure spending, Trump in his campaign broke ranks with many other Republicans, pledging to rebuild America’s “crumbling infrastructure.”
Representative John Sarbanes (D-3), who was in the County to support the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project for U.S. 29, said he could find common ground with Trump on a possible infrastructure bill.
“We’re going to keep an open mind about the president’s interest around infrastructure and encourage him if it looks like he’s ready to make a meaningful investment there,” Sarbanes said. “And obviously our delegation and the state of Maryland and the County Executive here in Montgomery County will be making a strong case for why those kind of dollars could flow to this area and help support kind of infrastructure.”
Representative-elect Jamie Raskin (D-8) said “politics is the art of compromise,” adding he would push to increase funding for Metro and Interstate 270 in any infrastructure bill.
One of the biggest proponents of the infrastructure spending in the still-forming Trump administration is newly appointed White House Strategist Steve Bannon.
While CEO of Trump’s campaign, Bannon told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview that he is an “economic nationalist” and would push the president to pass a trillion dollar infrastructure deal.
Bannon’s appointment as White House Chief Strategist has made him odd bedfellows with many Democrats, who have called Bannon an anti-Semite and a racist, but like Bannon, they say they want Congress to pass a bill to rebuild America’s infrastructure.
Raskin said he would be open to a Trump infrastructure bill but added he will not compromise on his core values.
“We will not negotiate on our basic values. Civil rights and civil liberties are for everybody,” Raskin said.
In light of recent incidents in the County and around the country, Van Hollen said he is calling for Trump to condemn any hate crimes outright.
Van Hollen said Bannon, who was former executive chair of rightwing media outlet Breitbart, was unfit to advise the president.
“It’s exactly why I’ve joined many of my colleagues and calling upon Donald Trump, not only to make statements about the violence, but to make sure he takes actions to make it clear he doesn’t support these kind of activities,” Van Hollen said.
“Unfortunately the actions he has taken move in the opposite direction, so his appointment of Steve Bannon, who’s an individual who established a platform for bigots and hate speech, should not be anywhere near the White House.”
Van Hollen was recently appointed chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, after previously holding the similar position as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2008 and 2010.
Van Hollen and Sarbanes said they’re still considering who to endorse to lead the Democratic National Committee.