Republicans opposed to Joe Biden’s proposed $2tn infrastructure bill claimed on Sunday that it was effectively a partisan tax hike that allocated too much money to electric vehicles and other environmental initiatives.
On CNN’s State of the Union, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves was asked if his state could use some of the $100bn Biden proposes to spend on fixing roads and bridges neglected for decades amid gridlock in Washington and paralyzed public spending.
Yes, he said. But.
“There’s no doubt that Mississippi could use our fair share of $100bn,” Reeves said. “The problem with this particular plan, though, is although the Biden administration is calling it an infrastructure plan, it looks more like a $2tn tax hike plan, to me. That’s going to lead to significant challenges in our economy, it’s going to lead to a slowing GDP … it’s going to lead to Americans losing significant numbers of jobs.”
Biden proposes funding his plan by raising corporate tax rates and making it more difficult for corporations to utilize offshore tax shelters.
Reeves had other complaints. While Biden proposes to spend billions on roads and bridges, he said, he also proposes to “spend more than that on the combination of Amtrak [railways] and public transit. And what’s even worse, [Biden’s bill] spends $100bn on clean water, which Mississippi could certainly use, but it spends more than that … to subsidize electric vehicles.
“That is a political statement. It’s not a statement on trying to improve our infrastructure in America. And so it looks more like the Green New Deal than it looks like an infrastructure plan.”
The Green New Deal is a set of policy priorities championed by prominent progressives including Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a way to meet looming environmental challenges while boosting the economy and reducing inequality. It is not enacted law or a formal part of Biden’s policy plans. Nonetheless, Republicans from Donald Trump down have seized on it, claiming it represents a determination to take away gas-guzzling cars and even the right to eat meat.
On ABC’s This Week, the Missouri Republican senator Roy Blunt asked: “Why would you pass up the opportunity here to focus on roads, bridges, what’s happening underground, as well as above the ground on infrastructure, broadband, all of which wouldn’t be 40% of this package?
“There’s more in the package for charging stations for electric vehicles … than there is for roads, bridges and airports and ports. When people think about infrastructure, they’re thinking about roads, bridges, ports and airports.”
The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said this week he would “fight them every step of the way because I think this is the wrong prescription for America. That package that they’re putting together now, as much as we would like to address infrastructure, is not going to get support from our side.”
Democrats could attempt to pass the package using budget reconciliation, a procedure that allows for a simple Senate majority rather than 60 votes. But even if successful it would mean abandoning portions of the plan that do not impact taxes and spending.
Biden has repeatedly emphasized the need for bipartisanship. Politicians from both sides have claimed willingness to reach across the aisle.
Reeves told CNN he “believes we can come up with a plan” but opposes the tax-funded price-tag. Blunt said it was “very unlikely” Republicans would vote to reverse Trump’s 2017 corporate tax cuts, suggesting instead “new funding sources, figuring out how if you’re going to spend all this money on electric vehicles, which I think is part of the future, we need to figure out how electric vehicles pay for using the system just like gas-powered vehicles have always paid for it with a gas tax.”
Pete Buttigieg, Biden’s transportation secretary, vowed to work with Republicans.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Senator Blunt,” he told ABC, “but I’m going to work to try to persuade him that electrical vehicle charging infrastructure is absolutely a core part of how Americans are going to need to get around in the future, and not the distant, far off future, but right now.
Asked if it was “a realistic prospect to expect Republicans are going to come around”, Buttigieg said: “I think it can be. I’m having a lot of conversations with Republicans in the House and Senate who have been wanting to do something big on infrastructure for years. 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.”
The Republican Mississippi senator Roger Wicker told NBC’s Meet the Press: “I’m all for working with the administration on an infrastructure bill. And let me tell you, I think I can work with Pete Buttigieg. I spoke to him the day he was nominated. We’ve been trading phone messages for the last three or four days in an effort to talk about this bill. I think Pete and I could come up with an infrastructure bill.”
But Wicker also brought out the stumbling block to such thoughts of progress.
“What the president proposed this week is not an infrastructure bill,” he said. “It’s a huge tax increase, for one thing.”
Source: Thanks msn.com