But it only offers a fraction of the benefits President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan does.
Some of the Senate's more moderate Republicans are planning to present their own infrastructure plan as a counterpoint to President Joe Biden's approximately $2 trillion American Jobs Plan — but their vision remains half-formed as attempt to come up with a plan to avert raising corporate taxes to pay for it.
Sens. Mitt Romney (UT), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), and Bill Cassidy (LA), among others, have embarked on what Romney characterizes as the "early stages" of discussion for their own infrastructure bill.
In varying reports, they've considered a total tab for the bill ranging from $600 billion to $800 billion, an amount described by Capito as a "sweet spot" — but only one-third to one-half of the funding Biden's bill proposes.
The plan is a direct response to Biden's more expansive infrastructure proposal, which allots $650 billion for domestic infrastructure, $621 billion for transportation infrastructure, and $580 billion for research and development in several sectors of the economy, including manufacturing.
Capito told the press Wednesday that the money in Republicans' proposal would go specifically toward roads and bridges, rather than line items Republicans have deemed extraneous to infrastructure, including $400 billion to support caretaking for the elderly and disabled, as well as $174 billion in investments in electric vehicles, $52 billion in funding for domestic manufacturing, and $35 billion for climate change research and development.
She made it clear Republicans refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy or corporations to pay for the plan — in stark opposition to Biden's proposal, which relies on such tax increases for funding.
Biden's plan would raise taxes on corporations and households making more than $400,000 a year to invest in infrastructure, and would also raise the corporate tax rate from 25% to 28% to fund infrastructure by repealing certain segments of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act promoted by Donald Trump and fellow Republicans.
Contrary to Republican claims, most Americans support raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations in order to fund infrastructure.
But Republicans are instead proposing a tax hike for working-class Americans Americans rather than a corporate tax raise to finance the proposal. Romney told the Washington Post on Wednesday the GOP proposal for revamped highways, airports, railways, and water systems can be paid for by imposing higher taxes on those who use the services.
Congressional Republicans' refusal to raise corporate taxes to fund their infrastructure proposal is consistent with their meeting with Biden earlier this week, when they similarly proposed a gas tax hike rather than a corporate tax raise.
This would, according to experts, disproportionately hurt working-class and lower-income Americans, rather than making the wealthy and corporations foot the bill.
Republicans have previously leveled attacks against Biden's proposal claiming infrastructure should only include "roads and bridges," and repeatedly noted that they feel a truly bipartisan infrastructure bill would be one in which everything they didn't like would be struck down.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), explained to the Washington Post that repairing roads and bridges was inadequate.
"We have a major crisis in terms of roads, bridges, water systems, affordable housing you name it," he said. "That is nowhere near what we need. Not to mention, we have to address the existential threat of climate change."
Among themselves, Senate Republicans don't appear to have a clear consensus about what they want to include in their responsive bill — or how to fund it. Capito suggested a $600 to $800 billion price tag would be sufficient.
She said on CNBC Tuesday, "What I'd like to do is get back to what I consider the regular definition of infrastructure in terms of job creation. So that's roads, bridges, ports, airports — including broadband into that — water infrastructure. I think the best way for us to do this is hit the sweet spot of where we agree, and I think we can agree on a lot of the measures moving forward. How much? I would say probably into the $600 or $800 billion, but we haven't put all of that together yet."
Capito added later that she wasn't sure what the cost of the proposal should be, and that her earlier figure was just spitballing.
Cassidy, who is involved in the Republican counterproposal, noted that he planned to meet with state governors and other lawmakers at a later date to ascertain exactly what ought to be included in the infrastructure plan.
Despite Republican efforts to water it down, Biden's American Jobs Plan continues to enjoy broad popularity, with almost 70% of American voters — and half of Republicans — backing it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.