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Source : C-SPAN
April 28, 2021
Author : Alex Bustillos
Biden’s plan, covered previously by Contractor News here, calls for $2 trillion to be invested in infrastructure this decade, while Senate Republicans seek $568 billion in the next five years.
The GOP proposal, which is just two pages long compared to the nearly 12,000-word White House proposal, seeks $299 billion for roads and bridges, $61 billion for public transit systems, $20 billion for Amtrak and rail, $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater, $13 billion for safety initiatives, $17 billion for ports and inland waterways, $44 billion for airports, $65 billion for broadband infrastructure, and $14 billion for water storage.
The Biden Administration’s plan, by comparison, seeks $115 billion for roads and bridges, $85 billion for public transit, $80 billion for Amtrak and rail, $111 billion for water infrastructure, $20 billion for road safety, $17 billion for ports and inland waterways, $25 billion for airports, and $100 billion for broadband.
Republicans have said many of the investments outlined in the Biden Administration’s plan are not, in fact, infrastructure. “Even if you stretch the definition of infrastructure some, it’s about 30 percent of the $2.25 trillion they’re talking about spending,” Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) told Fox News.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Biden package is a “Trojan horse. It’s called infrastructure. But inside the Trojan horse is going to be more borrowed money and massive tax increases.” Republicans have also called out policies like electric vehicle charging stations and home health care provisions, which they argue are not infrastructure.
While the Biden plan calls for investments in far more sectors than the GOP plan, we made this table to help visualize the number breakdowns on more traditional infrastructure priorities.
McConnell has said the GOP proposal "has the potential to be a reasonable and bipartisan alternative and we're hoping that Democrats are interested in doing something along those lines."
“It's a starting point,” said Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), according to Reuters. "I'm sure that we can find a compromise.”
Not all Democrats in the Senate were so thrilled: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) said it was “far too small” and that it “paves over the status quo.”
Asked about the GOP proposal, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it was a legitimate starting point. “The President has said from the beginning that he would welcome any good faith effort to find common ground because the only unacceptable step would be inaction,” she said, adding that Biden will invite GOP leaders to the White House to discuss the matter in the future.