Republican Senators are now releasing a counteroffer to President Biden's first infrastructure proposal, offering a $928 billion alternative that is hundreds of billions of dollars short of the Democratic plan.
Last Friday, the Biden administration reduced its proposal to $1.7 trillion from an initial $2.25 trillion, by lowering spending on roads, bridges and broadband and removing items, including investments in manufacturing, for inclusion in separate legislation.
Most of the plan comprises what Congress was expected to agree on anyway. In addition, the GOP has offered another $257 billion to be spent on:
- $91 billion for roads and bridges
- $48 billion for water infrastructure
- $25 billion for airports
- $65 billion for broadband
- $22 billion for freight and passenger rail
- $6 billion for water storage in the West
Dems are still ready to move on without Republicans by using the fast-track budget tool they used to pass the S1.9 trillion stimulus package. Still, obstacles remain. One issue is that the two sides have been defining the size of the package differently, with the GOP including money already expected to be in the pipeline, such as baseline spending on regularly scheduled infrastructure maintenance. The GOP senators characterized their initial offer as $568 billion, while the White House pegged the amount of new spending in that proposal at a much lower $175 billion. They pitched another version last week, though didn’t publicly specify its size.
Republicans have also proposed to pay for the spending by rescinding COVID relief funds, which is likely a non-starter for Democrats.
Readers can watch the Senators speak live below:
The pitch comes just days after the Dems were said to walk away from the table, believing they wouldn't be able to reach a compromise with the GOP. Dems currently are aiming to determine the chances of a deal by Memorial Day, which is just days away.