The Republicans of the Senate have presented their counter-proposal to the infrastructure in the amount of 568 billion US dollars. While a significant amount of money is spent on repairing roads and bridges, this is roughly a quarter the size of the infrastructure package proposed by the Biden government.
There's a huge gap between the GOP plan price tag and the $ 2.25 trillion president of the US employment plan set by Joe Biden. Not only are the costs much lower; The Republican plan looks more closely at repairing roads and bridges in America and other forms of transportation infrastructure, while Bidens does this and more, while also being a comprehensive climate plan and a significant investment to make long-term care more affordable.
Republicans argue that their infrastructure plan is "robust". While this is only a fraction of Biden's proposal, the Republican plan is actually larger than the last $ 305 billion bipartisan congress passed in 2015 and signed into law by President Barack Obama. However, the difference between these numbers and Biden's most recent plan highlights just how much the Democrats have stepped up the stakes over the past five years. For Biden, infrastructure isn't just about roads and bridges. It is the last hope that the US must fight climate change in real and fundamental ways.
The Biden administration hosted the first of a two-day international climate summit Thursday that unveiled a new emissions target to reduce America's greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, emissions by 2050 and the American economy by 2030 To be supplied with 100 percent clean and renewable energy in 2035. To do this, Biden intends to aggressively move the U.S. economy toward clean energy – which will require significant federal investment.
"We expect climate to be part of the discussion at the negotiation stage," Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the leading Republican on the bill and senior member of the Senate's environmental and public works committee, told reporters Thursday. The Republican plan provides some funding for electric vehicle infrastructure, but it pales in comparison to Bidens. Biden's plan also includes a clean power standard that many clean energy advocates see as key to drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Although Capito and Republicans said they see their plan as a starting point for negotiations with the White House, it remains to be seen whether the Biden administration considers the gap too big, especially given the different approaches to tackling the climate crisis. White House press secretary Jen Psaki described the Republicans' proposal as "good faith" and said the president was ready to hold the discussion in the coming weeks. Psaki also said the White House sees more time to negotiate with Republicans than it does for Biden's $ 1.9 trillion Covid aid package.
"There are many details to discuss, but we see them differently," said Psaki. “The American rescue plan was an emergency package. We have a little more time here and are very open to a number of options, a number of mechanisms, to move this forward. "
What does the Republican infrastructure proposal say?
The publication of Biden's American employment plan sparked a great deal of debate about what is actually considered "infrastructure". Republicans argued that this should be limited to investing in traditional resources like roads, bridges, and public transportation, which make up the bulk of their plan.
In general, Biden's plan is $ 621 billion for transportation infrastructure, including $ 115 billion for roads and bridges, $ 85 billion for local public transport, $ 80 billion for freight and rail, and $ 174 billion US dollars for electric vehicle infrastructure. But it also includes $ 650 billion for home infrastructure like replacing lead pipes and installing broadband across the country. It also includes $ 400 billion to bolster long-term care, make the cost of caring for the elderly and disabled more affordable, and increase the pay for home health workers who care for them.
The Republican plan is much more focused. It contains these categories:
Roads and bridges, $ 299 billion
Public transport Systems$ 61 billion
security, $ 13 billion
Drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, $ 35 billion
Inland waterways and ports$ 17 billion
Airports$ 44 billion
Broadband infrastructure$ 65 billion
Water camp$ 14 billion
The other big difference between Biden's proposal and the Senate Republican's proposal is how it would be paid. Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent to pay off his plan. Republicans have opposed tax hikes and are upset that Democrats are trying to reverse parts of their 2017 tax cut plan.
Here, Republicans are instead offering a mix of electric vehicle usage fees and unused federal spending, though their original plan has few specific details about payment. They demand that "all users of certain types of infrastructure (e.g. electric vehicles)" contribute to new income. Republicans also want to recycle unused federal funds from the Covid-19 relief bill and extend the cap on state and local tax withholding that some Democrats want to lift.
What if Republicans and Democrats can't agree on infrastructure?
The Democrats' approach to Covid-19 aid offers a glimpse of what could happen if the two parties fail to reach an agreement on infrastructure. Thanks to a procedural maneuver by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrats now have two more ways to use the budget vote to get their top priorities passed with just 51 votes in the tightly-divided Senate, and they could only use one of them for infrastructure.
"If (Republicans) don't see the great, bold need for infrastructure and climate change that the nation sees and wants and that we see and want, we must move forward without them," Schumer said in a CNN interview last week. "But our first preference, let's see if they can work non-partisan."
Some Republicans have signaled that there is room for common ground, as demonstrated by the proposal presented on Thursday: For example, Capito and Carper have already worked together on water infrastructure legislation to invest in resources aimed at improving access to safe drinking water. And Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Cornyn (R-TX) previously put into practice the idea of approving a bipartisan infrastructure measure worth $ 800 billion and considering the more controversial principles separately.
Whether a bipartisan deal is actually possible remains to be seen: the top Democratic priorities, including an investment of $ 400 billion in improving access to long-term care, have been deemed irrelevant by Republicans. And the Republicans' opening offer of $ 568 billion – similar to the Covid-19 aid case – is just a fraction of the more than $ 2 trillion plan proposed by Biden.
Depending on how willing both parties are to compromise, it is very likely that Democrats will move unilaterally again.
"Until the Republicans realize that the needs are far greater than what they are proposing, I don't know we will get much further." I hope so … but we won't wait forever, ”Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) told Politico.
What exactly Democrats could do under reconciliation is still somewhat unclear at this point: since such bills must focus on taxes and spending, all provisions are subject to scrutiny by MP Elizabeth MacDonough, who can determine whether certain principles are required to move out. MP Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman of the House's Transport Committee, is one of those who has wondered whether programs such as land transport and sewage permits are an option.
“No new program can be created in the vote. There are tons of things you can't do about reconciliation, ”he told Reuters' Susan Cornwell in mid-April. “The MP has a session with a senator who has been dead for eleven years and who made a rule 37 years ago. It's arbitrary, capricious, and stupid. "
Addressing this issue will be the next challenge for Democrats when they choose to go it alone again.