proposed spending for home caregiving, clean energy programs and other proposals in the package that extend beyond traditional transportation infrastructure such as roads, bridges, rail and ports. Republicans argue Biden and Democrats are using the popularity of infrastructure investment to fund unrelated liberal priorities.
More:Roads, bridges … and caregivers? Why Biden is pushing a ‘radical shift’ to redefine infrastructure
Biden said some people don’t believe replacing lead pipes to ensure safe drinking water or expanding broadband internet is infrastructure work.
“It’s not just roads, bridges, highways, etcetera,” Biden said. “That’s what we’re going to talk about,” he said, adding with a smile: “I’m confident everything is going to work out perfectly.”
He shot down a question from a reporter about whether the bipartisan meeting was just for show.
Does your state have the worst bridge in America? Joe Biden wants to know
Wicker told reporters the meeting was “a very lively discussion” and the president was “very engaged” but said pieces of Biden’s proposal are “non-starters for Republicans.” He singled out undoing the 2017 tax cuts, calling it one of his “signature achievements of my entire career.”
Biden is pitching a big infrastructure plan, but Republicans already panned it as going too far
Centrist Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a key swing vote in the evenly divided Senate, also opposes the corporate tax increase, suggesting a smaller bump to 25%. Biden last week said he’s “willing to listen” to a proposal that goes below a 28% tax rate for corporations but said inaction is unacceptable.
“Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain,” Biden said in a White House speech last week. “But here’s what we won’t be open to: We will not be open to doing nothing.”
In remarks from the Senate floor Monday, Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, accused the White House of engaging in “Trojan-horse tactics” and embarking on a “campaign to convince everybody that any government policy whatsoever” is infrastructure.
McConnell called Biden’s plan “a motley assortment of the left’s priciest priorities” that would impose “one of the biggest tax hikes in a generation when workers need an economic recovery.”
‘We can’t delay’: Biden proposes $2 trillion infrastructure, jobs plan funded by corporate tax hike
After a ruling last week by the Senate parliamentarian, Biden and Democrats could pass the American Jobs Plan with a simple majority in the Senate, blocking any attempt at a filibuster waged by Republicans. It would mean no Republican votes would be needed as long as Democrats are all on board, mirroring how Biden won approval of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan last month.
In negotiations on this bill, Biden’s American Rescue Plan, 10 Republicans met with Biden in the White House after proposing a trimmed down $618 billion package. But those talks quickly stalled after Biden wouldn’t budge on reducing its size.
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @Joeygarrison