On the heels of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package rammed through Congress without GOP support, the White House is determined that an even more costly infrastructure plan makes it through both legislative chambers and onto President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
According to reports, a growing number of Republicans are speaking out against the American Jobs Plan, but Biden addressed the issue on Monday with a vow to “push as hard” as possible to make sure the proposal is eventually passed.
“They know we need it”
GOP officials and pundits are particularly upset with the tax hikes included in the $2.25 trillion plan, and even a few Democrats have voiced their concerns about what the legislation would mean for Americans.
A number of high-profile Republicans have argued that just a small percentage of its spending falls under the category of traditional infrastructure projects. By some estimates, only about 10% will go toward repairing or upgrading roads, bridges, and related proposals.
Nevertheless, the president said on Monday that it was the GOP that moved the goalposts.
“Let me say something,” he said in reference to opposition on the other side of the aisle. “Their definition of infrastructure has changed. They know we need it.”
Biden and several key Democratic Party lawmakers say the bill will play a critical role in boosting the U.S. economy while providing high-paying jobs for those struggling through the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re going to do it here”
“I am going to push as hard as I can to compete with the rest of the world,” the president said. “Everyone around the world invests billions in infrastructure, and we’re going to do it here.”
With an evenly split U.S. Senate, however, every Democrat’s vote will be integral to the party’s plan to push through yet another massive bill along partisan lines.
For that reason, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is exercising his power by announcing on Monday that he is not in support of the bill as it currently reads, arguing that a hike in the corporate tax rate to the proposed 28% is off the table.
Not only did Manchin express his opposition, he said he knows of “six or seven other Democrats that feel very strongly about this,” meaning the plan could be doomed by Biden’s own party.
For his part, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made it clear that he will be pushing hard against the bill, suggesting that Democrats will not have any “insurance” votes on the GOP side of the aisle to make up for defecting Democrats like Manchin. Time will tell whether Biden eventually secures the support he needs, but it is increasingly obvious that this massive proposal is anything but a done deal.