GOP Senators Pitch Infrastructure Offer That’s Billions Less Than Biden’s

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “GOP Senators Pitch Infrastructure Offer That’s Billions Less Than Biden’s” – below is their description.

    –Republican senators pitched a third version of an infrastructure counter-proposal to President Joe Biden, with a program that remains hundreds of billions of dollars apart from the White House’s latest presentation.

    The Republican offer — unveiled Thursday morning by Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, John Barrasso of Wyoming, and Roy Blunt of Missouri — totals $928 billion over eight years, most of which Congress was expected to enact anyway.

    The release listed net new spending of at least $257 billion:

    -$91 billion for roads and bridges

    -$48 billion for water infrastructure

    -$25 billion for airports

    -$65 billion for broadband

    -$22 billion for freight and passenger rail

    -$6 billion for water storage in the West

    “This is a serious effort to reach a bipartisan agreement,” Capito told reporters Thursday. “We are hoping this moves the ball forward.”

    Last Friday, the Biden administration reduced its proposal to $1.7 trillion from an initial $2.25 trillion, by lowering spending on roads, bridges and broadband and removing items, including investments in manufacturing, for inclusion in separate legislation.Democrats are hoping the latest proposal will help improve chances for a deal on a major Biden initiative before the fast-approaching Memorial Day weekend.

    But obstacles remain. The two sides have been defining the size of the package differently, with Republicans including money already expected to be in the pipeline, such as baseline spending on regularly scheduled infrastructure maintenance.

    “This is what people at home in Wyoming think of when we talk about infrastructure: Potholes that need to be fixed,” Barrasso said Thursday, urging support for the GOP approach. “This avoids the big threat to our economy: inflation.”

    The GOP senators characterized their initial offer as $568 billion, while the White House pegged the amount of new spending in that proposal at a much lower $175 billion. They pitched another version last week, though didn’t publicly specify its size.Republicans propose to pay for the spending by rescinding Covid relief funds enacted in March, likely a non-starter for Democrats.

    Blunt said Thursday that Republicans could be open to additional pay-fors.

    “In terms of pay-fors there are other things that we are willing to put on the table,” he said, adding that fees for electric vehicles were one option.

    Congressional Democrats remain prepared to proceed without Republicans, using the fast-track budget reconciliation tool they used for the $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill in March.

    “We hope to move forward with Republicans” on infrastructure, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday. At the same time, Schumer said the Democrats wouldn’t let the GOP “stand in our way.” He said the plan, one way or another, is “to move forward in July.”

    The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the new proposal.

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