Thursday, August 5, 2021

GOP offers $586B counter to Biden infrastructure plan

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Senate Republicans unveiled their counterproposal to President Biden’s $2.5 trillion infrastructure plan on Thursday, offering a narrower alternative to the broad, mammoth plan.

The framework — spearheaded by GOP Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Mike Crapo of Idaho and John Barrasso of Wyoming — would total $568 billion, and excludes provisions laid out in Democrats’ plan that look to target issues like racial inequality, care for elderly and disabled people and climate change.

Under the plan, $299 billion would be allocated toward roads and bridges, $65 billion would go toward broadband expansion, $61 billion for public transit, $44 billion for airports, $35 billion for water systems, $20 billion for railways, $17 billion for inland waterways and ports, $14 billion for water storage and $13 billion for safety measures.

Capito said both sides of the aisle believe the nation’s aging infrastructure needs to be addressed, adding she thinks the “robust package” could garner some bipartisan support.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito listens during a Senate Environment and Public Works hearing
GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says the sides agree the nation’s infrastructure needs to be addressed.
Getty Images

“I’ve done a lot of outreach to my fellow Republicans, I’ve talked to Democrats, I’ve talked to my committee chair Sen. [Tom] Carper [D-Del.] more than a few times, and I’ve talked with the White House, which many of us have,” she said at a press conference Thursday.

“Some of us have been down to the White House to talk directly with the president, but we’ve certainly been talking about how important this is for a 21st century that has forward-looking, innovative infrastructure.”

Biden has recently met with both Democrats and moderate Republicans to discuss a path forward on infrastructure.

The plan also looks to preserve the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and keep the cap on the state and local tax deduction (SALT) in place.

The Republican lawmakers called for the plan to be fully paid for in an effort to avoid increasing the nation’s deficit.

The proposal received the endorsement of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who called on Democrats to “come to the table” and work on a bipartisan plan.

“Today, Senate Republicans introduced our framework to improve our nation’s infrastructure. Americans need and deserve bipartisan infrastructure solutions. I hope Democrats will come to the table and work with us on a bipartisan path forward to strengthen our homeland,” McConnell tweeted on Thursday.

While Republican lawmakers have argued Biden’s proposal is a “progressive wish list,” it’s unlikely the GOP proposal will gain enough bipartisan support to pass both chambers, with progressives pushing for a more expansive package addressing an array of areas.

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