Biden aims to build bridges with Congress to pass infrastructure package
WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Joe Biden’s historic $2.25 trillion transportation and infrastructure plan will face an uphill battle in Congress. Republicans, and even some Democrats, are skeptical of the price tag.
To win support for his transportation and infrastructure package, Biden is working to build bridges not only across the country but also in Congress. Democrats holding razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate. Top Democrats are ready to go.
“In the coming months, the Senate will consider legislation to rebuild infrastructure and fight climate change; boost research and development and domestic manufacturing,” said Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
But Republicans are skeptical that infrastructure – traditionally a bipartisan topic – will be a so-called “trojan horse” to include left-wing policies such as green energy.
“The Keystone XL pipeline would have used green technology to operate the pipeline to transfer that oil from Canada down to the Gulf Coast,” said Rep. Fred Keller (R-Pa.), who is on the House Education and Labor Committee, along with the House Energy Action Team HEAT). “The administration cut that out right away.”
To pay for this, the White House has suggested raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has also suggested a user fee where drivers would pay per mile to offset declining gas tax revenue. The proposed tax hikes would run through the House Ways and Means Committee.
“Just putting money out the door to put money out the door to try and feed some sort of far-left agenda, that’s not the answer,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), a member of the Ways & Means Committee. “If we really want to fix our infrastructure, then let’s look structurally at what we’re talking about.”
What lawmakers on both sides agree on is talking about would include fixing just roads and bridges; expanding broadband internet, and improving schools.
“Committees of jurisdiction have already began putting together the foundational aspects of the bill,” said Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii), a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Congress could take months to hammer out the details of an infrastructure package. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to work on voting rights, climate change, and gun reform when lawmakers return to Washington in April.