Both sides inch closer as GOP offers $928 billion for infrastructure
By Jenny LescohierMay 28, 2021
The latest development in the ongoing negotiation for a comprehensive infrastructure package is the Republicans’ $928-billion proposal which came days after the White House made its most-recent offer of $1.7 trillion.
The GOP proposal to revitalize America’s roads, bridges and broadband systems represents a significant increase from its previous plan to spend $568 billion, NPR reported.
Media reports indicate the new version includes additional money for roads, bridges, water, rail and airports, but the majority of the proposed spending is part of an existing baseline plan for investments. The total new money is $257 billion.
The new plan, put forward by a group led by GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, includes:
- $506 billion for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects, including $4 billion for electric vehicles
- $98 billion for public transit
- $72 billion for water systems
- $65 billion for broadband
- $56 billion for airports
- $46 billion for passenger and freight rail systems
- $22 billion for ports and waterways
- $22 billion for water storage
- $21 billion for safety efforts
- $20 billion for infrastructure financing
Biden’s latest offer to Republicans came in at $600 billion less than his original $2.3-trillion plan that stretched the definition of infrastructure in many lawmakers’ eyes. He has urged the GOP to put at least $1 trillion into an infrastructure package, CNBC reported.
Capito told reporters at the Capitol that the latest GOP offer “sticks to the core infrastructure features that we talked to initially. It is a serious effort to reach a bipartisan agreement.”
How will infrastructure be funded?
According to reports, Republicans plan to pay for the majority of the spending by repurposing funds Congress has already approved for other projects. They are primarily targeting unspent money meant for Covid-19 relief.
For his part, Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28%, increasing the top federal income tax rate to 39.6% from 37% for those earning more than $400,000, as well as expanding the capital gains tax.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told CNBC the GOP could make additional offers after this latest proposal.
“We’re going to keep talking, and I understand the president is willing to keep talking,” he told “Squawk on the Street.” “We’d like to get an outcome on a significant infrastructure package.”
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper said he was encouraged by the proposal and called for negotiations to continue, Reuters reported.
“As for the path forward, the President called Senator Capito thank her for the proposal, and to tell her that he would follow up after getting additional detail,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki was quoted. “We are also continuing to explore other proposals that we hope will emerge.”