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GOP Releases Rival Infrastructure Plan: NAM Calls for Bipartisan Negotiation

April 23, 2021
The Republican Party has released its own, $568 billion infrastructure counteroffer.

In response to President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, his $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill, several Republican senators released their own, slimmer infrastructure bill April 22.

The rival $568 billion bill covers many of the larger bill’s priorities, including funding for roads, bridges, public transit, ports, airports, broadband and water storage, but leaves out some elements Republicans dismissed as inappropriate for an infrastructure bill including public housing. Press Secretary Jen Psaki characterized the bill as "a good-faith effort to find common ground,” and National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons praised it as a way to reach consensus.

“Manufacturers applaud Senate Republicans’ proposal for infrastructure investment, just as we welcomed the release of President Biden’s bold infrastructure plan,” said Timmons, in a statement. “Building the next, post-pandemic world requires investing in roads, bridges, pipes, waterways, 5G, the electric grid and so much more.”

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican of West Virginia and one of the bill’s sponsors, said the counterproposal “serves as a realistic, thoughtful approach that addresses the core areas of infrastructure that we all agree upon.”

The bill calls for $299 billion to be spent on roads and bridges, $65 billion on broadband infrastructure, $61 billion on public transit systems, $49 billion on wastewater and water storage systems, $44 billion on airports, $20 billion on Amtrak and railroads, $17 billion on ports and inland waterways, and $13 billion on safety. According to the office of Senator Capito, it is the largest infrastructure bill ever put forward by Republicans.

By contrast, Biden’s bill includes $621 billion in total for transportation infrastructure alone, including roads and bridges as well as grants for companies to build more electronic vehicle charging stations.

The GOP counterproposal rejects two of the Biden bill’s most controversial features: a corporate tax increase and nontraditional infrastructure investments. Where the American Jobs Plan calls to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to help pay for the bill’s footprint, the Republican proposal proposes new user fees on electronic vehicles and repurposing already-cleared federal funds.

Elements of Biden’s plan Republicans have balked at including in an “infrastructure” package, like childcare and affordable housing measures, were left out of their proposal. “When Americans think of rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, they think of fixing roads, bridges, airports, ports, and waterways—not expanding the welfare state,” said Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

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