UPDATED 5:35 PM PT – Friday, April 23, 2021
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) isn’t convinced the Biden administration wants to work across the aisle when it comes to infrastructure. Concerned with the price tag and projects in the Democrats’ plan, Republicans have pushed a less expensive offer and the White House is all ears.
INFRASTRUCTURE: Jen Psaki says White House has "every intention" of passing American Jobs Plan and will be inviting Republicans to the White House to further negotiations. pic.twitter.com/BQX5GQmsVD
— Forbes (@Forbes) April 23, 2021
“We’ve heard a lot of talk about unifying the country and working together in a non-partisan way, but to date, it just hasn’t happened yet,” Rep. Mace said.
The GOP’s infrastructure proposal would cost nearly $570 billion, which is about a quarter of the cost of the Biden administration’s plan. Lawmakers outlined their narrow vision, which focuses on fixing and updating public transit systems, roads, bridges and airports.
Some of the money would also fund broadband expansion as well as drinking water infrastructure. Rep. Mace said there would be no tax hikes necessary to pay for this package.
Republicans want to pay for their plan mostly with unused money from the last COVID relief package and by imposing fees on electric vehicles. By doing away with provisions in the Democrats’ proposal, the GOP is confident they can make a deal.
“This is a robust package,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) noted. “Now is the time for the committees to get to work.”
However, Senate Democrats have disagreed on what to make of the GOP’s offer. Moderates like Delaware Sen. Chris Coons (D) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reacted positively to the idea and said they want a bipartisan compromise, but Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), another moderate, doesn’t back Republicans’ proposal.
Progressives like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) want to go bigger. In a recent interview, Schumer said any infrastructure bill must include green infrastructure and create green jobs.
“This should not be a Republican or Democrat issue,” Mace emphasized. “It should be a place where we can work together.”
It remains to be seen if all sides reach a compromise. As negotiations play out, the nation’s infrastructure remains in need of attention, earning a C- in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2021 infrastructure report card.