In a Sunday appearance on Fox News, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt (MO) hit back at Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan, calling on the president to cut the proposal’s cost down to $615 billion and focus on the nation’s physical infrastructure needs so as to avoid damaging tax increases that could hurt the economy.
According to CNBC, Blunt argued that only about 30% of Biden’s current plan actually focuses on infrastructure, while the rest is related to things like climate change and welfare.
“I think there’s an easy win here for the White House if they would take that win, which is make this an infrastructure package, which is about 30% — even if you stretch the definition of infrastructure some — it’s about 30% of the $2.25 trillion we are talking about spending,” Blunt said, as CNBC reported.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that no GOP senator will vote for Biden’s current proposal, which would severely limit its prospects of passing.
Republicans take a stand
A big part of Republicans’ opposition is the proposed corporate tax hike — from 21% to 28% — that accompanies the plan.
The Republican leader also said that there wouldn’t be “enthusiasm” inside the GOP for any tax hike, especially as the economy continues to try to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It now appears that McConnell’s prediction was prophetic. Speaking Sunday, Blunt said 30% of Biden’s current package amounts to “about 615 or so billion dollars,” which may be a more reasonable ask.
“I think you can do that and with some innovative things like looking at how we’re going to deal with the electric vehicle use of the highway system, what we can do with public-private partnerships,” Blunt said, according to CNBC.
Can Biden win without GOP support?
In the meantime, McConnell is standing firm against Biden’s plan, but if Democrats once again use budget reconciliation, they could be able to ram it through Congress like they did with the latest coronavirus relief bill in February.
Still, Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) has said he opposes the bill because he thinks the tax increase is too steep, as National Review reports. If he holds firm, the bill would not pass; even under reconciliation rules, the measure would need the support of all 50 Democrats in the Senate plus Vice President Kamala Harris.
Manchin also reportedly said there were “six or seven” other Democrats who felt the same way, so it seems like Biden has some work to do even within his own party if he hopes to get his plan passed. But will the president actually be willing to let go of his radical agenda and slim the bill down in the name of compromise? I’m not holding my breath.