By Mark Valentini, Director of Legislative Affairs
As infrastructure talks fell apart between Congressional Republicans, led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and President Biden, a bipartisan group of 20 Senators developed a framework on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
Republicans and the Biden administration failed to compromise on a major infrastructure overhaul. Republicans were concerned about the tax hikes associated with the $1.7 trillion price tag proposed by the Biden administration, whereas the Republican counteroffer of approximately $900 billion did not meet the scope of the President’s plan. The $1.2 trillion package proposed by the bipartisan group of 20 Senators offers a package that may be big enough for Congressional Democrats to support and does not include tax hikes. The bipartisan proposal includes $55 billion for water projects, while the Biden plan includes $110 billion and the Republican plan includes $35 billion. The bipartisan proposal also does not include the American Families Plan.
The success of the bipartisan proposal depends on how flexible lawmakers are on how the legislation will be paid for. The bipartisan proposal, as well as the Republican proposal, does not include tax hikes but does include using billions of dollars in unspent COVID relief funds. On the other hand, the Biden proposal will depend on tax increases on individuals making more than $400,000 per year, increasing the corporate top rate to 28%, and implementing a 15% baseline tax on large corporations; the amount of revenue from such tax increases is what the Biden administration believes will allow an infrastructure overhaul on the large scale he envisions.
Tax increases are a deal-breaker for Republicans, and exclusion of the American Families Plan will turn away many liberals hoping to see more funding for child care, health care and education. If no compromise can be reached, Congressional Democrats are expected to force the legislation through the reconciliation process, a strategy that requires every Senate Democrat to vote “yes” but would also strip away many non-budgetary priorities.
The bipartisan compromise may be the best deal President Biden will get on infrastructure. PHCC is advocating vigorously for inclusion of our infrastructure priorities and will keep you posted on any updates.
Director of Legislative Affairs , PHCC-National Association