- The Washington Times - Monday, May 3, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday Republicans are open to supporting a $600 billion infrastructure bill — well short of President Biden‘s vision.

Mr. McConnell said GOP lawmakers oppose the administration’s push to roll back parts of the 2017 Trump tax cuts to pay for roads and bridges.

“We are not going to revisit the 2017 tax bills,” Mr. McConnell said in Louisville. “We are happy to look for traditional infrastructure pay-fors, which means the users participate.”

Mr. Biden is pushing a $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan that includes everything from road and bridge repairs to building electric vehicle stations and eliminating lead pipes.

He also is calling for passage of a $1.8 trillion American Families Plan that invests in various social programs, including pre-K education, community college child care and health insurance subsidies.

Mr. Biden has proposed paying for his vision by rolling back the Trump tax cuts to return the top marginal tax rate to 39.6% from 37%. 

Mr. Biden has proposed higher capital gains taxes on households earning more than $400,000 per year and raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.

Mr. McConnell said Mr. Biden‘s package is too expensive for the GOP. He said GOP lawmakers are rallying around the $600 billion infrastructure framework that Sen. Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia unveiled last month.

The GOP plan centers on a more traditional definition of infrastructure. It sets aside $299 billion for roads and bridges, $61 billion for public transit, $65 billion for broadband and $44 billion for airports.

Mr. McConnell said it has been hard for Republicans to find bipartisan consensus with Democrats because they “can’t resist stretching out the pandemic, using it as a rationale for additional spending beyond what is best for our country.”

“I think it is time to take a look at our national debt, which is now as large as our economy for the first time since World War II,” Mr. McConnell said. “That appears not to be enough and the president laid out last week another $4 trillion package loaded with tax increases that will slow the economy and more massive dent all in the name of infrastructure, but, of course, infrastructure is only a part of what they have in mind.”

Mr. Biden and Democrats passed a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan — which included $1,400 stimulus checks — that was financed with borrowed money.

Mr. Biden says his latest plans can be passed without adding to national deficits and the national debt, which recently climbed past $28 trillion for the first time. 

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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