Senate Republicans Release Infrastructure Counter Offer that Democrats Snub
Senate Republicans on April 22 released a $568 billion infrastructure proposal to counter the $2 trillion-plus plan unveiled by President Biden early this month. But Congressional Democrats have made it clear they are not on board.
Still, the offer could mark the start of bipartisan negotiations to increase infrastructure spending, a position supported by most Americans. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), who introduced the five-year plan, said the goal is for congressional committees to lead the process. "The biggest message we want to put forward today is that this is important to us," Capito told reporters on Capitol Hill. "We agree that these bills are necessary and that the committees of jurisdiction forge the compromise."
In their plan, GOP senators propose only spending on what they see as “traditional” infrastructure projects. The Republican framework calls for: $299 billion for roads and bridges; $17 billion for ports and waterways; $61 billion for public transit; $20 billion for rail; $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater; $44 billion for airports; $65 billion for broadband; and $14 billion for water storage, among other things. Biden’s plan, which calls for $54 billion more spending than the Republican proposal just on traditional infrastructure, also seeks funds to electrify vehicles, make the nation’s infrastructure more resilient to climate change, provide additional programs for the elderly and people with disabilities and retrofit homes to provide low-income housing that is more energy efficient.
Republicans emphasized that any funding should be partnered with spending from state and local governments and should encourage private-sector investments and financing. They also call for funding offsets to cover the cost of the programs with an emphasis on repurposing existing funds that Congress has already approved. Republicans also rejected any corporate or international tax increases, as well as any attempts to undo the 2017 tax cuts passed under President Trump.
Biden has proposed paying for his plan primarily by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
With the sides so far apart, a deal on infrastructure will certainly take a while – if a compromise can even be achieved.