Republicans could have a new version after Biden’s infrastructure plan

Republicans opened the door on Sunday to support a scaled-down version of Joe Biden’s $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan, which if focused on physical works could yield an “easy bipartisan victory” for the US president.

Biden’s American Jobs Plan – the second titanic spending initiative in his ten weeks in office, after the $ 1.9 trillion economic stimulus package – aims to modernize America’s public works and green its economy. energy system.

But the proposal announced this week faces major obstacles in Congress amid criticism from Republicans and business lobbies who oppose the corporate tax hike that is intended to fund the plan.

Roy Blunt, the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, called on Democrats to focus on the traditional pillars of infrastructure, “roads, bridges, ports and airports,” and not on Biden’s more expansive spending projects to create jobs, fight climate change, and tackle an ever-stronger China.

Blunt spoke out as senior administration officials appeared on Sunday shows to sell his project to Americans as a key element in achieving sustained job growth.

“I talked to the White House a couple of times and said, ‘You have an easy bipartisan win here if you keep this package pretty much infrastructure-centric,” Blunt told ABC’s “This Week.”

That would not prevent the government from later pushing other aspects of its plan with a partisan vision, he added.

The Republican senator complained that the plan contains more for electric vehicle charging stations than for physical improvements.

“When people think of infrastructure, they think of roads, bridges, ports and airports,” he said on ABC.

Blunt, a seasoned member of the Senate leadership team, nevertheless displayed a more conciliatory tone than that of the Republican leader in the Upper House, Mitch McConnell, who days before had promised to fight Biden’s plan “at every step.” .

– Unique moment –

The Democratic administration frequently highlights polls that show its plan popular with ordinary Americans of all ideologies.

Asked on ABC whether it is still realistic to expect Republican support for the plan, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg responded, “I think it may be.”

“This is a once in a lifetime moment,” he added, again citing the estimate that the project could create 19 million jobs.

“I don’t think in the next 50 years we will see another time where we have this combination of proven need, bipartisan interest, widespread impatience, and a president who is committed to it,” Buttigieg said.

Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, pointed out the long-term benefits of the plan, taking into account that the United States is still 8.4 million jobs below its pre-pandemic levels.

“We believe that we can have not only a strong job rebound this year,” he valued on “Fox News Sunday,” “but that we can sustain it for several years. That is the objective ”.

With information from AFP