Biden administration officials on Sunday reiterated the President’s hope for bipartisan support for his infrastructure proposal amid Republican senators signaling their opposition to the plan, which they argue doesn’t focus enough on traditional infrastructure.
In announcing his infrastructure proposal last week, Biden said that the package would focus on rebuilding roads, bridges and airports; expanding broadband access; and boosting electric vehicle use and updating the country’s electric grid to fight climate change. Biden’s infrastructure proposal would also increase the corporate tax rate to 28% to offset spending.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) expressed his opposition to the President’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal by characterizing it as a “Trojan horse” that will lead to “more borrowed money and massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy.”
Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) reinforced McConnell’s opposition on Sunday by insisting that Biden’s infrastructure proposal veers off the beaten path.
Appearing on ABC News on Sunday, Blunt said that there would be an “easy bipartisan win” on the President’s package if only it were “nearly focused on infrastructure.”
“When people think about infrastructure, they’re thinking about roads, bridges, ports and airports,” Blunt said. “That’s a very small part of what they’re calling an infrastructure package that does so much more than infrastructure.”
Wicker also argued that the President is using his infrastructure proposal to justify “a huge tax increase” during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
After saying that he is open to working with the Biden administration on an infrastructure bill and has had conversations with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in the past few days about it, Wicker took issue with the package increasing corporate tax rates while decrying the President’s hope to push his infrastructure plan with bipartisan support under the bill’s current provisions.
“How could the President expect to have bipartisanship when his proposal is a repeal of one of our signature issues in 2017, where we cut the tax rate and made the United States finally more competitive when it comes to the way we treat job creators?” Wicker said. “He reverses all that.”
Biden administration officials, however, took to Sunday cable news program to double down on the President’s calls for bipartisan support on their infrastructure proposal:
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg insisted that the President believes in a bipartisan approach for the American Jobs Plan, before saying that Biden is asking Congress for major progress on the infrastructure package by Memorial Day during an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“The bottom line is we’ve got to deliver for the American people,” Buttigieg said. “And we can’t let politics slow this down to where it doesn’t actually happen.”
Buttigieg also appeared on ABC News, where he dismissed Blunt’s criticism of the infrastructure proposal.
“Well, let’s be clear, there’s a lot more than roads and bridges that are part of infrastructure,” Buttigieg said.
After going on to argued infrastructure investment needs to look to the future, Buttigieg said that he will work to try to persuade Blunt that “electrical vehicle charging infrastructure is absolutely a core part” of the needs in the country right now and in the future.
Asked about the prospects of Republicans coming around to the Biden administration’s infrastructure proposal, Buttigieg expressed optimism in the midst of have conversations with Republicans in Congress.
“We may not agree about every piece of it, but this is one area where the American people absolutely want to see us get it done, where members on both sides of the aisle have been talking about getting it done for a long time,” Buttigieg said. “And in my view, this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I don’t think, in the next 50 years, we’re going to see another time when we have this combination of a demonstrated need, bipartisan interest, widespread impatience and a very supportive president who is committed, by the way, not just to the infrastructure itself but to the jobs we’re going to create.”
Buttigieg later said that the Biden administration will keep working to try to earn support for the infrastructure package across the aisle.
Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg tells @GStephanopoulos "there's a lot more than roads and bridges that are part of infrastructure," adding that investment into infrastructure improvement "has to include looking to the future." https://t.co/PCw0ugzMrE pic.twitter.com/CXX9WDLGpd
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 4, 2021
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm
Asked on CNN whether she and Biden would be satisfied with the infrastructure bill passing without Republican votes, Granholm responded that “obviously” the preference is for passage through bipartisan support.
“Eighty percent of America supports investing — over 80 percent — investing in infrastructure. That’s Democrats and Republicans and independents,” Granholm said. “So, the President is very concertedly reaching out to Republicans to say, come to the table. If you don’t like a component of it, tell us how you would do it.”
Granholm argued that the infrastructure proposal contains issues that Republicans support, pointing to spending on roads, bridges, water and manufacturing supply chains.
“These are all things that Republicans have actually introduced bills on. So, come to the table,” Granholm said. “We want to make it bipartisan.”
Granholm went on to signal that Biden is prepared to use reconciliation without Republicans in order to push the infrastructure package forward.
“Well, as he has said, he was sent to the presidency to do a job for America,” Granholm said. “And if the vast majority of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, across the country support spending on our country and not allowing us to lose the race globally, then he’s going to do that.”
Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm says she hopes Pres. Biden's infrastructure plan can pass with bipartisan support, adding that it "includes things that Republicans are supporting like roads and bridges spending, like broadband, like water, like manufacturing supply chains" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/XmGzOlsKCA
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 4, 2021