United States – The White House shared information on Friday that It had lowered its infrastructure bill from $ 2.25 trillion to $ 1.7 trillion, along with cuts in broadband and investment in roads and bridges, but Republicans rejected the change as inadequate for a deal.
The White House effort represented a desire by President Joe Biden to engage with the opposition party on an issue that was preferred by the Democratic president in his early days in office. But from the size of the package to how to pay for it, the two sides differ.
White House officials on Friday called with a group of Republican senators to figure out some of their differences and present a new draft. White House spokeswoman Jen Paski shared information with a newspaper, “This proposal exhibits a willingness to come down in size, giving on some areas that are important to the president … while also staying firm in areas that are most vital to rebuilding our infrastructure and industries of the future”.
She further added that some aspects have been removed from the new proposal, such as investment in research and development; others will find their way into bills. Republican US Senators Shelly Moore Capito, John Barrasso, Roy Blunt, Mike Crapo, Pat Tommy, and Roger Wicker have put forth their proposal, which is much shorter than the White House version. They said the White House resolution could not be passed by Congress with bipartisan support.
“Based on today’s meeting, the groups look different after two meetings with White House staff, as they were after a meeting with President Biden,” the senators said in a statement. Further added they would continue to engage with the administration. A White House memorandum suggests that Biden’s new proposal would reduce spending on broadband to $ 65 billion; down from the $ 100 billion it initially proposed.
Spending on roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects will come down to $ 120 billion, lower than Biden’s initial $ 159 billion proposals, but much higher than Republicans’ desired $ 48 billion. Paski said that because the total cost of the package was reduced, the need for “pay-fors” would also be reduced. She further added that Biden committed to not raising taxes on people earning less than $ 400,000 a year.
The White House plan, which Republicans have described as too expensive, seeks to address climate change and social issues such as caring for the elderly, in addition to reviving traditional transportation infrastructure. It would cover the cost of investment by raising taxes on American corporations and wealthy Americans. Top Republican lawmakers have said they will not agree to the tax increase.