Senate Republicans unveil a $568 billion infrastructure package that would keep the Trump tax cuts

Shelley Moore Capito
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito in the Capitol. AP Photo/Susan Walsh
  • Senate Republicans unveiled a $568 billion infrastructure “framework” on Thursday.
  • It allocates just over half of its spending to roads and bridges, keeping the Trump tax cuts.
  • Democrats are likely to reject the plan as too meager.
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Senate Republicans rolled out an $568 billion infrastructure plan on Thursday, kicking off Congressional negotiations on one of President Joe Biden’s biggest legislative priorities.

It was introduced by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia; Roger Wicker of Mississippi; Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania; John Barrasso of Wyoming; and Mike Crapo of Idaho. The amount is lower than the $600 billion range that Capito suggested last week.

“This is the serious, most robust plan we’ve put forward as Republicans,” Capitol said at a press conference on Thursday. “We see this as an offer that’s on the table.”

The plan allocates just over half of its cost to physical infrastructure such as roads and highways, breaking up spending over a five-year period. Here’s a breakdown of the GOP plan:

  • $299 billion for roads and bridges.
  • $65 billion for broadband.
  • $61 billion for public transit systems.
  • $44 billion for airports.
  • $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater.
  • $20 billion for rail.
  • $17 billion for ports and waterways.
  • $14 billion for water storage.
  • $13 billion for road safety.

It outlined possible sources of revenue like “user-fees,” charges meant to shift the burden of upgrading the country away from large firms and onto people using the services. Republicans dismissed a corporate tax hike, reflecting their staunch opposition to rolling back former President Donald Trump’s signature tax law.

The plan encourages the use of unspent coronavirus relief money to offset the plan’s pricetag, and as well as investments from the private sector.

The path ahead for the Republican proposal is unclear, though a legislative breakthrough doesn’t appear likely in the short term. Democrats are likely to reject the Republican proposal as too meager. The framework is only about a quarter of the $2.3 billion infrastructure and jobs plan Biden unveiled late last month.

The White House said this week it’s opposed to user-fees, viewing them as a violation of Biden’s campaign promise to not raise taxes for people earning below $400,000. Other key Senate Democrats such as Joe Manchin of West Virginia have also said they are opposed.

Biden’s plan includes funds for roads and bridges, clean-energy incentives, in-home elder care, broadband, and affordable housing, among other areas.

The Biden plan would be paid for with a corporate tax increase from 21% to 28%, a partial repeal of Trump’s tax law enacted in 2017. Another economic proposal directed at families is expected later this month, with tax hikes on wealthy people.

Republicans are lining up against the Biden public-works plan, particularly the corporate tax increase. The GOP has assailed it as a “slush-fund” and a “Trojan horse” for Democratic priorities. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came out in support of the GOP blueprint on Thursday.

“Americans need and deserve bipartisan infrastructure solutions,” he tweeted. “I hope Democrats will come to the table and work with us on a bipartisan path forward to strengthen our homeland.”

Democrats argue they want to ramp up spending to alleviate economic inequality and speed up the country’s recovery from the pandemic.