Republican Sen. Roy Blunt calls on Biden to slash large infrastructure plan to $615 billion

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Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) asks questions throughout a Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs & Senate Guidelines and Administration joint listening to to debate the January sixth assault on the U.S. Capitol on March 3, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Greg Nash | Getty Photographs

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri on Sunday urged the Biden administration to chop its $2 trillion infrastructure plan to roughly $615 billion and deal with rebuilding bodily infrastructure like roads and bridges.

In an interview with Fox Information Sunday, Blunt – the fourth-ranking Republican within the Senate – argued that solely 30% of the president’s proposal focuses on conventional infrastructure and mentioned decreasing the worth would permit the White Home to go the invoice by each chambers of Congress.

“I believe there’s a simple win right here for the White Home if they’d take that win, which is make this an infrastructure package deal, which is about 30% — even when you stretch the definition of infrastructure some — it is about 30% of the $2.25 trillion we’re speaking about spending,” Blunt mentioned.

“If we might return and have a look at roads and bridges and ports and airports, and possibly even underground water programs and broadband, you’d nonetheless be speaking about lower than 30% of this whole package deal,” he added.

“I believe 30% is about 615 or so billion {dollars},” Blunt mentioned. “I believe you are able to do that and with some modern issues like taking a look at how we’ll take care of the electrical automobile use of the freeway system, what we are able to do with public-private partnerships.”

The highest Republican’s remarks observe Biden’s introduction of the infrastructure package deal final week, which focuses on rebuilding roads, bridges and airports, increasing broadband entry and fighting climate change through boosting electric vehicle use and updating the nation’s electrical grid. The proposal additionally contains growing the company tax fee to twenty-eight% to offset spending.

Biden has mentioned that he desires bipartisan assist for the plan, however the likelihood is slim. Republicans have staunchly opposed any tax hikes, arguing they may hinder financial restoration. Republicans have additionally criticized the package deal for together with initiatives that reach past conventional infrastructure points.

Senate Minority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., mentioned final week that the $2 trillion package deal would not receive Republican support and vowed to oppose the broader Democratic agenda.

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“I will combat them each step of the way in which, as a result of I believe that is the improper prescription for America,” McConnell mentioned at a information convention on Thursday.

Democrats would want to make use of the price range reconciliation course of to go the invoice on their very own except the White Home adjustments the proposal to fulfill Republicans or 10 Senate Republicans break with McConnell.

The Biden administration passed the $1.9 pandemic relief package in March with out a Republican vote by price range reconciliation and will take an analogous strategy with infrastructure.

Vitality Secretary Jennifer Granholm mentioned on Sunday that she hopes the proposal passes with bipartisan assist, however added that Biden is ready to make use of reconciliation with out Republicans.

“A lot of this contains priorities that Republicans have supported, so I hope that Democrats and Republicans could be on the ultimate vote ‘sure’ on this package deal,” Granholm mentioned throughout an interview on CNN.

Brian Deese, director of the Nationwide Financial Council, mentioned on Sunday that Biden’s infrastructure plan is essential to spurring job development because the nation recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Let’s additionally assume for the long run, about the place these investments that we are able to make that can actually drive not simply extra job development however higher job development,” Deese mentioned in an interview with Fox Information. “Not simply job development within the brief time period however job development for long run, by investing in our infrastructure.”