Republican Senator Roy Blunt asks Biden to cut plan to $ 615 billion


Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) asks questions during a joint Senate hearing on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and Senate Rules and Administration to discuss the January 6 attack on the US Capitol March 3, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Greg Nash | fake images

Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri on Sunday urged the Biden administration to cut its infrastructure plan from $ 2 trillion to approximately $ 615 billion and focus on rebuilding physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Blunt, the fourth-ranked Republican in the Senate, argued that only 30% of the president’s proposal focuses on traditional infrastructure and said that lowering the price would allow the White House to pass the bill. law through both houses of Congress.

“I think there is an easy victory here for the White House if they accept that victory, which is to make this an infrastructure package, which is about 30%, even if you stretch the definition of infrastructure a bit, it’s about 30%. of the $ 2.25 trillion we are talking about expenses, “said Blunt.

“If we went back and looked at roads, bridges, ports and airports, and maybe even groundwater systems and broadband, it would still be talking about less than 30% of this whole package,” he added.

“I think 30% is about $ 615 billion,” Blunt said. “I think you can do that and with some innovative things like seeing how we are going to deal with the use of electric vehicles in the highway system, what can we do with public-private partnerships.”

The Republican’s main comments follow Biden’s introduction of the infrastructure package last week, which focuses on rebuilding roads, bridges and airports, expanding broadband access, and fighting climate change by increasing vehicle use. electricity and updating the country’s electricity grid. The proposal also includes increasing the corporate tax rate to 28% to offset the expense.

Biden has said he wants bipartisan support for the plan, but the chances are slim. Republicans have strongly opposed any tax hike, arguing that it could hamper economic recovery. Republicans have also criticized the package for including initiatives that extend beyond traditional infrastructure issues.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said last week that the $ 2 trillion package would not receive Republican support and vowed to oppose the broader Democratic agenda.

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“I’m going to fight them every step of the way, because I think this is the wrong recipe for America,” McConnell said at a news conference Thursday.

Democrats would have to use the budget reconciliation process to pass the bill themselves unless the White House changes the proposal to satisfy Republicans or 10 Senate Republicans break with McConnell.

The Biden administration approved the $ 1.9 pandemic aid package in March without a Republican vote through budget reconciliation and could take a similar approach with infrastructure.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Sunday that she hopes the proposal will pass with support from both parties, but added that Biden is prepared to use reconciliation without Republicans.

“Much of this includes priorities that Republicans have supported, so I hope Democrats and Republicans can be in the final ‘yes’ vote on this package,” Granholm said during an interview on CNN.

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said Sunday that Biden’s infrastructure plan is key to boosting job growth as the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Let’s also think longer term, about where those investments that we can make that will really drive not just more job growth, but better job growth,” Deese said in an interview with Fox News. “Not just short-term job growth, but long-term job growth, by investing in our infrastructure.”

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