04.01.21

A ‘Trojan Horse’ Infrastructure Plan

Behind The Veneer Of ‘Infrastructure,’ President Biden’s $2.25 Trillion Plan Is ‘A Way Of Accomplishing Many Of The Goals Of The Green New Deal’ And Not A Targeted Infrastructure Plan

 

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Our nation could use a serious, targeted infrastructure plan. There would be bipartisan support for a smart proposal. Unfortunately, the latest liberal wish-list the White House has decided to label ‘infrastructure’ is a major missed opportunity by this Administration. This plan is not about rebuilding America’s backbone. Less than 6% of this massive proposal goes to roads and bridges. It would spend more money just on electric cars than on America’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, and waterways combined. … This proposal appears to use ‘infrastructure’ as a Trojan horse for the largest set of tax hikes in a generation. These sweeping tax hikes would kill jobs and hold down wages at the worst possible time, as Americans try to dig out from the pandemic. But don’t worry, coastal elites — House Democrats are demanding a special SALT carve-out that would cut taxes for wealthy people in blue states.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 3/31/2021)

SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV), Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member: “While the president unveiled a partisan proposal that goes far beyond what constitutes as infrastructure, the Senate continues negotiations between members of both parties. As I have said before, I am committed to working together to craft a robust surface transportation reauthorization bill and other infrastructure legislation. However, that’s not what the president is proposing today. Instead, President Biden’s so-called ‘jobs’ proposal is a clear attempt to transform the economy by advancing progressive priorities in an unprecedented way. The proposal would aggressively drive down the use of traditional energy resources and eliminate good-paying jobs in West Virginia and across the country. Perhaps worst of all, it would burden the American economy with tax increases as our country attempts to recover from economic hardship.” (Sen. Capito, Press Release, 3/31/2021)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY), Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member: “The tax-and-spend Democrats are back. The plan President Biden unveiled today is an out-of-control socialist spending spree… This proposal starts with the punishing policies of the Green New Deal and builds back worse from there. It will hike taxes and spend trillions of dollars on the left’s radical agenda. Democrats are offering to hamstring the economy with higher energy bills and higher taxes for families in Wyoming and across the country. Republicans want to protect our energy dominance, and let hardworking Americans keep the money they earned. President Biden should change course and look to our bipartisan highway bill from the last Congress if he is really interested in improving our infrastructure.” (Sen. Barrasso, Press Release, 3/31/2021)

SEN. MIKE CRAPO (R-ID), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member: “Raising taxes in the middle of an economic crisis is incredibly misguided … Prior to the pandemic, our economy was the strongest it’s ever been. Unemployment was down and real earnings were up, especially for low-wage earners. … These outcomes will resume once our economy can reopen completely, provided the Administration’s proposals to raise taxes on vulnerable American businesses are not enacted into law. Hastily changing the tax system purely for purposes of raising revenue will bring back inversions and foreign takeovers of U.S. companies, cost jobs, shrink domestic investment and slow down wage growth, ultimately crushing ordinary workers and the middle class. Focusing on pro-growth policies that boost growth, competitiveness, productivity and investment is the best way to fully rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.” (Sen. Crapo, Press Release, 3/31/2021)

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA), Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Ranking Member: “We can and should do more to rebuild our nation’s physical infrastructure. I am happy to work with anyone who wants to make responsible progress. .... We added $4 trillion in additional spending in response to the pandemic and recession last year. This year, the Biden administration wants to do even more total spending, despite the fact that the economic recovery is well underway. However, rather than offsetting this enormous spending binge responsibly, the Biden administration is pushing a massive tax increase by undoing large portions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. That 2017 tax reform helped create the best American economy of my lifetime. We should be trying to get back to that economy, not making American workers and businesses less competitive globally.” (Sen. Toomey, Press Release, 3/31/2021)

SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS), Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Ranking Member: “The President’s broadband proposal opens the door for duplication and overbuilding. The FCC should complete its work to develop accurate and detailed broadband maps to identify unserved areas. Spending $100 billion without these maps will lead to a massive waste of taxpayer dollars.” (Sen. Wicker, Press Release, 3/31/2021)

 

‘They Have A Giant Definition Of Infrastructure,’ Less Than 30 Percent Of Biden’s So-Called Infrastructure Plan Is Actually Spent On Transportation Infrastructure

“President Joe Biden presented a $2.25 trillion U.S. infrastructure plan on Wednesday, setting the stage for a drawn-out battle over his second big economic program after his pandemic-relief package’s relatively smooth sail through Congress.” (“Biden Pitches $2.25 Trillion Plan to ‘Bring Everybody Along,’” Bloomberg, 3/31/2021)

Infrastructure: $621 billion … The plan would invest $115 billion to revamp highways and roads, including 10 major and 10,000 smaller bridges in need of reconstruction. It also includes $20 billion to improve road safety, including for cyclists and pedestrians. The plan calls for $85 billion to modernize existing transit systems and help agencies expand to meet rider demand. The investment would double federal funding for public transit. Biden is proposing $80 billion to fix Amtrak’s repair backlog. It establishes $174 billion in grant and incentive programs for state and local governments and the private sector to build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030. The proposal seeks to replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and electrify at least 20 percent of the country’s ‘yellow school bus fleet.’ The plan invests $25 billion in airports, including programs to renovate terminals and expand car-free access to air travel. Biden is also pitching $17 billion for inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries to invest in the nation’s freight system.” (“What’s In Biden’s $2 Trillion Jobs And Infrastructure Plan?,” The Washington Post, 3/31/2021)

Only About 5 Percent Of Biden’s $2.25 Trillion Plan Is Spent On Roads And Bridges…

“Many economic experts agree that significant investments in roads, bridges and other infrastructure is necessary for the country’s long-term health, and spending when interest rates are this low is a wise idea. But some were surprised to see that only about 5 percent of the bill is directed toward roads and bridges, and they question why the administration is mixing other types of policies into a bill designed to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure.” (“Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Faces Controversy Over Price Tag And Design,” The Washington Post, 3/31/2021)

“The plan would invest $115 billion to revamp highways and roads, including 10 major and 10,000 smaller bridges in need of reconstruction.” (“What’s In Biden’s $2 Trillion Jobs And Infrastructure Plan?,” The Washington Post, 3/31/2021)

…And More Is Spent On Electric Vehicles Than On America’s Roads, Bridges, Ports, Airports, And Waterways Combined

“It establishes $174 billion in grant and incentive programs for state and local governments and the private sector to build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030.” (“What’s In Biden’s $2 Trillion Jobs And Infrastructure Plan?,” The Washington Post, 3/31/2021)

“The plan would invest $115 billion to revamp highways and roads, including 10 major and 10,000 smaller bridges in need of reconstruction. … The plan invests $25 billion in airports, including programs to renovate terminals and expand car-free access to air travel. Biden is also pitching $17 billion for inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries to invest in the nation’s freight system.” (“What’s In Biden’s $2 Trillion Jobs And Infrastructure Plan?,” The Washington Post, 3/31/2021)

‘Nearly 20 Percent Of The Bill Goes Toward Expanding Caregiving… And Another 13 Percent Goes Toward Boosting The U.S. Manufacturing Sector… Those Investments Aren’t Typically Seen As Traditional Infrastructure’

“For example, nearly 20 percent of the bill goes toward expanding caregiving for the elderly and disabled by building more care centers and expanding access to home-based care, and another 13 percent goes toward boosting the U.S. manufacturing sector with large investments in semiconductors and green energy. Those investments aren’t typically seen as traditional infrastructure but align with the administration’s focus on caregiving and reviving U.S. manufacturing.” (“Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Faces Controversy Over Price Tag And Design,” The Washington Post, 3/31/2021)

R. Richard Geddes, Policy Analysis and Management Professor at Cornell University and Founding Director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy: “They have a giant definition of infrastructure… These social issues are very important, but they aren’t nuts and bolts. We need to focus like a laser beam.” (“Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Faces Controversy Over Price Tag And Design,” The Washington Post, 3/31/2021)

 

Biden Is Seeking ‘The Largest Tax Hike In Generations’ To Pay For Eight Years Of Spending With 15 Years Of Higher Taxes

“The $2.25 trillion, eight-year proposal is a follow-up to the $1.9 trillion economic relief bill passed earlier this month. To cover the costs, Biden wants to raise corporate taxes to 28% from 21%. The plan also seeks a minimum tax on profits U.S. corporations earn overseas, increasing the rate to 21% from roughly 13%.” (“What’s In Biden’s $2.25 Trillion Infrastructure And Tax Proposal,” Bloomberg, 3/31/2021)

“President Biden intends to pay for the $2 trillion package of infrastructure spending he will propose on Wednesday with a substantial increase in corporate taxes, people briefed on the plan said Tuesday. The scale of the infrastructure program… is so big that it will require 15 years of higher taxes on corporations to pay for eight years of spending, they said.” (“Biden Wants to Pay for Infrastructure Plan With 15 Years of Corporate Taxes,” The New York Times, 3/30/2021)

“Biden is planning to offer what would amount to the biggest set of tax increases since 1993 to help pay for infrastructure...” (“Ex-Pence Aide Helps Lead GOP Assault Against Biden Tax Increases,” Bloomberg, 3/30/2021)

“But it also sets up the administration for an enormous political challenge in convincing Congress to pass a package of tax increases on wealthy Americans and companies that together would represent the largest tax hike in generations.” (“White House Dramatically Increased Tax Proposal As It Sought To Address Tensions Over Next Big Spending Plan,” The Washington Post, 3/29/2021)

Capping A Rocky Rollout, Biden’s Secretary Of Transportation Even Floated Imposing A Mileage-Based Tax That ‘Shows A Lot Of Promise’

CNBC’s KAYLA TAUSCHE: “First, a gas tax. You’ve called it old fashioned to raise the gas tax. Do you still believe that? Could that go up?”
TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY PETE BUTTIGIEG: “Well, the gas tax is traditionally been part of how we fund the Highway Trust Fund, but we know that it can’t be the answer forever because we’re going to be using less and less gas. We’re trying to electrify the vehicle fleet. So, if there is a way to do it that doesn’t increase the burden on the middle class, we can look at it, but if we do, we got to recognize, that’s still not going to be the long-term answer.”
TAUSCHE: “What about a mileage-based tax?”
BUTTIGIEG: “So I think that shows a lot of promise if we believe in that so-called user-pays principle: The idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive. The gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it. It’s not anymore. So, a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax, or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it could be a way to do it. … You’re hearing a lot of ‘maybe’ here because all of these things need to be balanced and could be part of the mix.” (CNBC, 3/26/2021)

The Chamber Of Commerce: ‘We Strongly Oppose The General Tax Increases Proposed By The Administration Which Will Slow The Economic Recovery And Make The U.S. Less Competitive Globally’

U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S NEIL BRADLEY, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer: “We need a big and bold program to modernize our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and we applaud the Biden administration for making infrastructure a top priority. However, we believe the proposal is dangerously misguided when it comes to how to pay for infrastructure. Properly done, a major investment in infrastructure today is an investment in the future, and like a new home, should be paid for over time – say 30 years -- by the users who benefit from the investment. We strongly oppose the general tax increases proposed by the administration which will slow the economic recovery and make the U.S. less competitive globally – the exact opposite of the goals of the infrastructure plan.” (U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Press Release, 3/31/2021)

 

For Democrats, The ‘Climate Infrastructure Bill’ Is ‘A Trillion-Dollar Opportunity’ And ‘A Way Of Accomplishing Many Of The Goals Of The Green New Deal’

SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): “It’s a way of accomplishing many of the goals of the Green New Deal… to go big and bold to match the urgency of the moment.” (“Markey And Progressive Democrats See Infrastructure Bill As A Way To Accomplish Green New Deal Goals,” The Boston Globe, 3/28/2021)

THE NEW YORK TIMES: “[President Biden’s] advisers are preparing a set of proposals intended to reshape the U.S. economy and other parts of American life…. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told The Times’s Lisa Friedman that she was encouraged by what she had heard about the infrastructure policies and likened them to her Green New Deal plan.” (“Biden’s Big Plan,” The New York Times, 3/23/2021)

  • REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): “One of the big goals we had when we introduced the Green New Deal was to show how people thought about climate change from being a billion dollar problem to a trillion-dollar opportunity…. This infrastructure package generally seems to be shaping up in that kind of framework.” (“Biden’s Big Plan,” The New York Times, 3/23/2021)

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): “The Biden administration will seek big climate elements in the infrastructure bill, to the point where it might even be called a climate infrastructure bill.” (“Markey And Progressive Democrats See Infrastructure Bill As A Way To Accomplish Green New Deal Goals,” The Boston Globe, 3/28/2021)

 

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SENATE REPUBLICAN COMMUNICATIONS CENTER

Related Issues: Taxes, Infrastructure