A group of moderate Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled an infrastructure proposal worth close to $1 trillion, a counteroffer to the massive tax-and-spending plan introduced by President Biden earlier this month.
The proposal marks a significant increase from the GOP lawmakers' initial $568 billion offer, although it represents just $257 billion in new funding. (The remainder is part of an existing baseline plan for investments.)
"We want to focus on actual infrastructure," Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said during a Thursday morning news conference. "We can reach an agreement if we focus on those items." Toomey drafted the proposal along with Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and Roy Blunt of Missouri.
Their counteroffer comes less than one week after Biden lowered the size of his proposal to $1.7 trillion from an initial $2.25 trillion.
While the $928 billion offer is much closer in line to Biden's target, there remains an ideological gulf between the two sides over what constitutes infrastructure. The GOP's plan notably does not include new spending on a wide range of areas where Biden has recommended billions, such as electric vehicles, elder care and veterans hospitals. Barrasso on Thursday lambasted those spending proposals from the White House as "socialism camouflaged as infrastructure."
Take a closer look at what each of the proposals would call for in terms of new spending:
The roadmap laid out by Republicans would set aside:
- $506 billion for roads and bridges
- $98 billion for public transit systems
- $46 billion for rails, including Amtrak
- $21 billion for safety, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
- $22 billion for ports and waterways
- $56 billion for airports
- $22 billion for western water storage
- $72 billion for water infrastructure
- $65 billion for broadband
- $20 billion for infrastructure financing
It would be paid for by repurposing about $700 billion in unused federal funds previously allocated for coronavirus relief efforts. The proposal would not affect the 2017 tax law that slashed the corporate tax rate to 21%.
The plan laid out by Biden would invest:
- $621 billion on roads, bridges, rails, ports, waterways, airports, public transportation
- $174 billion for electric vehicles
- $300 billion for manufacturing, including semiconductor manufacturing and research
- $30 billion in research and development
- $111 billion for water infrastructure
- $100 billion to build new schools and upgrade existing buildings
- $100 billion for broadband
- $213 billion to build more than 2 million affordable homes
- $400 billion for caregiving for elderly and disabled Americans
- $18 billion to modernize Veterans Affairs hospitals