A group of moderate Senate Republicans is preparing a counteroffer to President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs package, but the plan is unlikely to attract broad support from congressional Democrats.
The Republican plan, still in the early stages of discussion, would likely be in the $600 to $800 billion range and would be more narrowly focused on traditional infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. A group of about 10 Senate Republicans is working on the package, including Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
“What I’d like to do is get back to what I consider the regular definition of infrastructure in terms of job creation,” Capito told reporters this week. “So that’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, including broadband into that, water infrastructure.”
Republicans have largely rejected Biden’s ambitious plan as too expansive and too expensive, and object to the corporate tax increases the White House has proposed to offset the overall price tag. The Republican counteroffer will reportedly scrap the proposed corporate tax hike and include user fees as a pay-for.
“The pay-for ought to come from the people who are using it,” Romney said. Romney specifically mentioned the gas tax and ensuring that electric vehicle drivers are paying into the system.
While Biden continues to do outreach to Republicans on his package, top Senate Democrats are warming to the idea of using the budget reconciliation process to pass Biden’s plan with only 51 votes, particularly after the Senate’s parliamentarian ruled that Democrats may be able to bring more bills under reconciliation than they originally anticipated.
“I think we want to work in a bipartisan way. But most importantly, we’ve got to address the needs of the American people,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “And if the Republicans are not prepared to come aboard on a serious effort in terms of physical infrastructure, in terms of climate change, in terms of human infrastructure, we’ve got to go ahead and do it alone.”