McConnell: No Senate Republicans Will Back Biden Infrastructure Proposals
No Senate Republicans are willing to take up two recent infrastructure-related bills proposed by President Joe Biden, said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Monday, setting up the potential for drawn-out negotiations or the use of reconciliation.
Biden had proposed a $2.2 trillion jobs package and a $1.8 trillion package for families. Both include money for roads, bridges, and broadband, as well as manufacturing, public schools, in-home care, and other provisions. The president also sought to increase taxes on wealthier Americans, taxes on corporations, and capital gains taxes.
“I think it’s worth talking about but I don’t think there will be any Republican support—none, zero—for the $4.1 trillion grab bag which has infrastructure in it but a whole lot of other stuff,” McConnell said during a Kentucky news conference.
Several Republicans, led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), proposed a package worth around $600 billion.
“We’re open to doing a roughly $600 billion package which deals with what all of us agree is infrastructure,” McConnell said. “If it’s going to be about infrastructure, let’s make it about infrastructure.”
McConnell, in the conference, seemed to take issue with Biden’s tax proposal, saying the 2017 tax bill was the “most significant domestic accomplishment” of President Donald Trump’s administration. The GOP-led bill lowered the corporate tax rate from 28 percent to 21 percent.
“We’re not willing to pay for it by undoing the 2017 bill,” McConnell said.
But in an interview Sunday, Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers chair, Cecilia Rouse, said the two packages are needed because “we are still 7 or 8 million jobs down from last year” and added that “in the last 40 years, we’ve been disinvesting in our economy.”
“The strategy here is to really create a partnership between the public sector and the private sector,” Rouse said.
If Democrats unify behind either proposal, they could use the reconciliation budget process to pass legislation through the Senate without any Republican support, which is what they did with the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.
However, some Democratic senators, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), have rejected the idea of Democrats passing a bill alone.
“For the sake of our country, we have to show we can work in a bipartisan way,” he said last week. “I don’t know what the rush is.”
Before that, Manchin said he wants to focus on “conventional infrastructure” like bridges, water projects, broadband Internet, and roads.
Some Democrats, however, have said they want to pass legislation quickly before members start to focus on midterm elections.
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