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King, Trump talk Gateway, but whether anything changes is unclear

Peter King as seen on Monday, October 30,

Peter King as seen on Monday, October 30, 2017 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

WASHINGTON — It’s still up to President Donald Trump whether funding for the Gateway Hudson tunnel and bridge will remain in the omnibus spending bill that must be passed next week, Rep. Peter King said after making his case to the president Thursday.

King said he argued for leaving the $900 million Gateway appropriation in the spending bill during a five-minute conversation with Trump at the St. Patrick’s Day lunch.

But King declined to offer details of their talk or to say whether Trump will reconsider his adamant opposition and threats to veto the must-pass spending bill if lawmakers don’t remove the Gateway funding.

“All I can say is that it was a long conversation. He understands where I’m coming from,” King said. “The president heard everything I had to say.”

King spoke to Trump after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told New York and New Jersey Republican congressmen at a meeting Wednesday that they would have to work out a final decision on Gateway funding with the president.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in a statement called Trump’s opposition to Gateway funding “unconscionable.”

Noting that Trump might be targeting Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for leverage in bargaining, Cuomo added, “I am sure there are politics at work here, but I am also sure there are other venues to play politics that don’t jeopardize the future of the Northeast United States.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to continue to fight for the money, but said the biggest thing to make sure it happens would be “for Democrats to take the majority in the Senate, which would mean that Chuck Schumer is the majority leader.”

New York and New Jersey lawmakers and officials have argued the Gateway project affects the entire Northeast corridor and the nation’s economy and that an agreement with the previous administration on funding should be honored.

Administration officials said that New York and New Jersey officials must put up local and state money to match federal funding. They rejected the previous plan for the states to use federal grants and loans to pay for the $30 billion Gateway program.

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