Biden wants the US to go big with train investment, even if ‘high-speed rail’ does not appear in his proposal.
Republican senators in the United States outlined a $928bn infrastructure proposal on Thursday, a counteroffer to President Joe Biden’s more sweeping plan as the two sides struggle to negotiate a bipartisan compromise and remain far apart on how to pay for the massive spending.
The Republican offer would increase spending by $91bn on roads and bridges, $48bn on water resources and $25bn on airports, according to a one-page summary released by the GOP negotiators. It also would provide for one-time increases in broadband investments, at $65bn, and $22bn on rail.
Republicans have rejected Biden’s proposed corporate tax increase to pay for new investments, and instead want to shift unspent COVID-19 relief dollars to help cover the costs.
“It’s a serious effort to try to reach a bipartisan agreement,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the lead GOP negotiator.
The Republican senators said their offer delivers on “core infrastructure investments” that Biden has focused on as areas of potential bipartisan agreement. But their overall approach is likely to be met with scepticism by Democrats and the White House.
With about $250bn in new spending, their plan falls short of the more ambitious proposal outlined in the president’s American Jobs Plan. In earlier negotiations. Biden reduced his $2.3 trillion opening bid to $1.7 trillion.
Investing in infrastructure is a top legislative priority for Biden. Talks are at a crossroads before a May 31 deadline to make progress towards a bipartisan deal. The White House is assessing whether the president can strike the contours of an agreement with Republicans or whether he will try to go it alone with Democrats if no progress is made in the coming days.