Biden to GOP: ‘Don’t get in the way’ of infrastructure plan

“I’m not going to embarrass anyone, but I have a list here,” he said. “If you’re going to take credit for the work we’ve done,” he continued, “don’t get in the way of what we have to do.”

Political arguments over Biden’s ambitious proposals are rapidly turning into a debate over the size and scope that, all sides agree, are desperately needed as the country’s aging and outdated infrastructure upgrades.

As the president approaches a growing legislative achievement with his $ 1.7 trillion American Jobs plan and a separate $ 1.8 trillion American family plan, he is assessing whether he can cut a bipartisan deal with Republicans or only Democratic The proposals have to be carried forward with the votes. Republican senators outlined a $928 billion infrastructure proposal Thursday as a counteroffer to Biden, drawing a new red line against his plans to raise the corporate tax from 21% to 28% to pay for the new spending. done. Instead, Republicans want to move unused COVID-19 relief dollars to help cover costs, a nonstarter for many Democrats.

Republican senators said their proposal, raised from an initial $ 568 billion, disbursed on “core infrastructure investments” that Biden has focused on as areas of potential agreement. With about $250 billion in new spending, the GOP plan is far from the president’s vision. Biden reduced his initial bid of $ 2.3 trillion to $ 1.7 trillion in earlier negotiations.

“This is a serious attempt to try to reach a bipartisan agreement,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia’s leading Republican negotiator.

As Biden left for Ohio, he said he called Capito to thank him for the offer, but told him, “We have to finish it soon.”

Biden visited Cuyahoga Community College, the same school where he was to hold a campaign rally in March 2020, only to have it be the first rally canceled due to the epidemic. He presented his return as a symbol of how far the nation has returned, and he tried to make the case that the economy would recover from the passing of his job and family plans and for the decades ahead. Will be ready

The president said he “doesn’t want to punish anyone” with his tax plans. But said that it is time for America’s wealthy and corporations to help them invest in the future of the country.

“Do you want to give America’s richest people another tax cut? I don’t give them any trouble for the money they make. Just start paying a little bit of your fair share,” Biden said.

Talks are at a crossroads ahead of a Memorial Day deadline to progress towards a bipartisan deal. With a low majority in the House and Senate, the Democratic president faces other hurdles if he decides to skip negotiations with Republicans and tries to unify the partial Democrats.

According to a one-page summary released by GOP negotiators, the Republican proposal would increase $ 91 billion on roads and bridges, $ 48 billion on water resources, and $ 25 billion on airports. It will provide a lump sum increase of $ 65 billion in broadband investment and $ 22 billion on rail.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said on CNBC that it is time for the administration to “calm down and realize that they do not have the massive mandate in Congress to do what they are trying to do.”

White House press secretary Jane Saki said Biden and Capito are expected to meet next week, while Congress is on break.

Saki clarified the administration’s concern over the exploitation of the pandemic fund. Saki said in a statement, “We are concerned that large cuts to the COVID Relief Fund may affect pending aid to small businesses, restaurants and rural hospitals using this money to get back on their feet after the pandemic is crushing.” Might. “

Key differences remain between White House and GOP negotiators over the definition of infrastructure: Republicans stick to traditional investments in roads, bridges, ports and drinking water, while Biden takes a more detailed approach.

Under Biden’s initial proposal, it has more than $ 300 billion for substantial upgrades to public schools, Veterans Administration hospitals, and affordable housing, as well as more than $ 25 billion for new and renovated child care centers.

Biden’s proposal would spend heavily on efforts to counter climate change, with $ 174 billion to boost the electric vehicle market, by developing charging stations, and $ 50 billion so that the community floods, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural To better deal with disasters.

One area of ​​the agreement is on promoting broadband, but the parties differ on the details. Republicans raised their initial proposal to $ 65 billion in an earlier exchange; Biden is seeking $ 100 billion.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy., said the Republican’s overall proposal reflects “what homeowners think about infrastructure, potholed roads in Wyoming.”

The White House still welcomed the proposal, expressing public hope for bipartisanship. Of the $ 928 billion over eight years, it includes $ 257 billion of new money, more than the $ 225 billion the White House said was in the initial Republican proposal. But the White House is still far short of what was expected.

Sen. Pat Tommy, R-Pa. Said it has $ 700 billion in unspent COVID-19 aid from the US rescue plan, which was the administration’s $ 1.9 trillion response to the coronavirus crisis earlier this year.

Toomey said some of that money could typically fill the gap between the amount of revenue collected from transportation taxes and fees and the new spending proposed by GOP senators.

But he said that Republican negotiators have made it “very, very clear that we have discussed each time that we are not raising taxes.”


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