21.8 C
Honolulu

House Democrats Eye July 4 Deadline to Pass Infrastructure Bill

Must read

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has signaled that she hopes to pass President Biden’s big infrastructure bill as early as July 4 — even as Republicans lined up on Wednesday in near-lock-step opposition to the tax hikes planned to fund the $2 trillion measure.

The ambitious timetable could slip as debate intensifies over aspects of the plan, particularly since Democrats hold such a slim majority and cannot afford to lose many votes in the House. But in a statement, Ms. Pelosi called Mr. Biden’s big proposal a “a visionary, once-in-a-century investment in the American people” and promised to move it through the House as quickly as possible.

Even before the president was expected to unveil the package during a speech in Pittsburgh, Democrats were beginning to rally around the plan with statements of effusive praise. The measure includes a massive upgrade of the nation’s bridges, roads, water treatment facilities, green energy programs, housing initiatives and improvements to the power grid.

Republicans have begun weighing in, and mostly negatively, on Mr. Biden’s proposal to hike taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations.

“What good is infrastructure when people have no jobs?” Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee asked in a statement.

It labeled Mr. Biden’s proposal “a series of job-killing tax hikes,” a nearly word-for-word reprise of the party’s messaging campaign against former President Barack Obama’s successful efforts to raise taxes on wealthy families during his second term in office.

White House officials hope to pick off a few moderate Republicans, in part to nominally assert that the bill has bipartisan support. But G.O.P. operatives were already working Wednesday to keep their troops in line.

“When you are talking about tax hikes of this magnitude, I don’t see there being any Republican support on the Hill,” Marc Short, a longtime aide to former Vice President Mike Pence, said in an interview.

Mr. Short, a veteran of anti-tax campaigns who worked for the Koch Brothers’ political network, has launched a new group, The Coalition to Protect American Workers, that is planning to raise between $25 to $50 million from conservative donors to fight Mr. Biden’s plan.

He said that “if the White House succeeds in enlisting any Republican support for the bill,” his group “would be messaging in those districts.”

It now seems likely that Democrats will have to resort to budget reconciliation, the tactic used to ram through Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief pandemic bill, which leaves party leaders no room for defections.

For the moment, no prominent Republicans have offered support for the plan, although many have withheld their criticism of it, pending the official release of its details.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who has been at the center of negotiations over similar bills for decades, told a local radio station this week he is waiting to see the specifics of the tax provisions before panning the proposal. “The tax policy probably isn’t as important to me as the spending policy,” he said.

And Representative Garret Graves of Louisiana, the senior Republican on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, told Reuters he was keeping an open mind — although he warned he would not support a broad expansion of social welfare programs.

“If they’re just going to encapsulate a cow pie in a candy shell, then I’m not there,” said Mr. Graves.

Read more…

- Advertisement -spot_img

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article