Battle lines drawn on Biden’s infrastructure plan
Republican lawmakers and White House officials on Sunday came out swinging over President BidenJoe BidenLawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden’s job Trump calls for Republicans to boycott companies amid voting law controversy White House: GOP has ‘struggled to articulate a reason’ to oppose infrastructure plan MORE‘s proposed $2.25 trillion plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure, with GOP senators using their appearances on the morning political shows to take aim at the size of the plan and its proposed corporate tax hikes and Democrats defending the legislation as a way to generate sustained job growth.
President Biden unveiled the plan, which he called a “once-in-a-generation investment in America,” on Wednesday with a speech in Pittsburgh. He said the legislation would provide billions to rebuild roads, bridges, tunnels and other structures while also providing billions in funding for efforts to transition the U.S. away from the use of fossil fuels, both in the country’s power grid and on roadways where the plan provides funds for encouraging electric vehicle use.
Secretary of Transportation Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegSunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden may find zero GOP support for jobs plan Biden says Cabinet ‘looks like America’ at first meeting MORE, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that the proposal would be fully funded by a hike to the corporate tax rate, while adding that it would begin cutting into the deficit after 15 years.
“Now is our chance to make infrastructure choices for the future that are going to serve us well in the 2030s and on into the middle of the century, when we will be judged for whether we met this moment here in the 2020s,” Buttigieg said on “Meet the Press.”
“Across 15 years, it would raise all of the revenue needed for these once-in-a-lifetime investments. So by year 16, you’d actually see this package working to reduce the deficit,” Buttigieg added.
On “Fox News Sunday,” National Economic Council Director Brian DeeseBrian DeeseSunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave Biden makes inroads with progressives The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Republicans squeeze Biden with 0 billion COVID-19 relief alternative MORE defended the plan to Fox’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceGraham says he owns AR-15 to protect his home from gangs Graham on Georgia legislation prohibiting giving water to voters in line: ‘Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me’ Biden’s first presser wasn’t about him — not really MORE, answering questions from Wallace about whether more federal spending is needed by saying the program would generate sustained job growth across the U.S.
“We think we can not only have a strong job rebound this year, but we can sustain it over many years. That’s the goal,” Deese said. “[L]et’s also think to the longer-term about where those investments that we can make that will really drive not just more job growth but better job growth. Not just job growth in the short term but job growth in the long term by investing in our infrastructure. By investing in our research and development in a way that we haven’t since the 1960s.”
Republicans touted their party’s unified opposition to the bill in appearances on NBC, ABC and Fox, with Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Trump pollster: Greitens leads big in Missouri GOP Senate primary MORE (R-Mo.) calling on Biden in twin appearances on “This Week” and “Fox News Sunday” to embrace a much smaller package.
“I think there’s an easy win here for the White House if they would take that win, which is make this an infrastructure package, which is about 30 percent [of what their proposal entails],” Blunt said on Fox.
“My advice to the White House has been, take that bipartisan win, do this in a more traditional infrastructure way and then if you want to force the rest of the package on Republicans in the Congress and the country, you can certainly do that,” he added.
Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerSunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave Senate committee advances two Biden environment nominees National service is a bipartisan priority MORE (R-Miss.) took offense to the administration’s method of funding the proposal: a hike on the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, a move that he said represented “a repeal of one of our signature issues in 2017,” referring to the GOP tax reform plan that passed that year.
“I think it’s a big mistake for the administration. They know I think it’s a mistake. And I also think it would be an easy victory if we go back and look at roads and bridges and ports and airports and maybe even underground water systems and broadband,” said Wicker.
It’s unclear whether Democrats will seek Republican support to pass the bill. Some Democrats have held out hope for winning some GOP support for the legislation while some, including Maryland’s Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress looks to rein in Biden’s war powers Democrats wrestle over tax hikes for infrastructure Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer MORE (D), have indicated that Democrats could seek to pass the legislation through budget reconciliation should Republicans signal a refusal to negotiate in good faith on the issue.
The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package was passed into law last month through the budget reconciliation process, which requires 50 votes in the Senate and allowed Democrats to completely bypass Republicans.