Biden-Endorsed Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Faces Skepticism
The $973 billion bipartisan plan that would overhaul the United States transportation, water, and broadband infrastructure faces harsh criticism from key Democrat figures due to its funding plan.
United States President Joe Biden endorsed a $973 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal in June, causing skepticism to rise among key Democrats due to their concern about the plans to pay for the massive deal.
Two major financing mechanisms were put on the table: repurposing unspent funds for unemployment benefits and state assistance. A group of Democrat senators opposed the mechanisms, as they were saying that higher corporate tax rates should be the primary source of revenue.
Leading the group of senators is the Democrat, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, who will present a financing plan based on $1 trillion collected from major corporations, in addition to $300 billion he intends to obtain from taxing unrealized capital gains.
Wyden sees that corporations, which enjoyed tax cuts in 2017 under former President Trump, will benefit greatly from new infrastructure investment, so they should bear much of the cost.
The proposal calls for raising money in a variety of other ways that allow corporations to keep the tax cuts they are enjoying. The most controversial plans among Democrats are those that aim to redirect unused unemployment insurance funds and repurpose $125 billion in unused COVID-19 relief previously designated for local governments.
Party leaders promised to tie the bipartisan deal to a larger package that would raise taxes on major companies and America's wealthiest. The measure that is mostly proposed and backed by the Democrats would need to pass under the budget reconciliation process to avoid a GOP filibuster (a procedure where one or more members of congress debate over a proposed piece of legislation so as to delay or entirely prevent a decision being made on the proposal) in the Senate.
The Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Bernie Sanders, said last month he would not vote for the bipartisan framework because of the lack of "progressive" revenue sources.
Sanders added, "The bottom line is there are needs facing this country. Now is the time to address those needs and it has to be paid for in a progressive way given the fact that we have massive income and wealth inequality in America."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans want to see a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the revenue raisers “to see whether the proposal is credibly paid for."