Aside From Knee-Jerk Obstructionism What Are The GOP Problems With The Infrastructure & Jobs Bill?
Yesterday, Navigator Research did a deep dive into the public's perception of Biden's infrastructure and jobs bill. Even with the GOP's "Socialism!!!!" Machine turned up full blast already across right wing media, support for the plan is very high-- 70% to 19% opposed-- and even among Republicans, a plurality-- 48% to 38%-- favor the initiative.
Although Republicans are skeptical about investing in building electric vehicle charging stations and can't get beyond their own inherent racism to back the goal of addressing racial inequalities by investing in communities of color, even they support most of the bill's specifics. Democrats and independents are on board with every aspect-- and by wide margins:
Whatever there is of cohesive conservative arguments against the plan-- namely, that "government should limit spending on infrastructure and services to avoid adding to the deficit and the national debt"-- fall flat when contrasted with progressive arguments, like "the government should spend whatever is necessary on infrastructure and services because we need to create jobs and build an economy for working people" (supported by 62% as opposed to 38% for the conservative argument); and "the government should spend whatever is necessary on infrastructure and services because we have neglected these investments for too long, and the pandemic showed how badly the are needed (supported by 60% as opposed to 40% for the conservative argument.)
And support for White House proposal includes taxing the rich and raising corporate taxes to pay for the plan:
Reporting for NBC News this morning, Sahil Kapur and Julie Tsirkin wrote that the congressional Republicans automatically oppose it but haven't figured out what their arguments against it are-- and can't seem to come up with their own counter-proposal, other than wanting to narrow the scope and spend less. "More than a week after President Joe Biden announced a sprawling $2.25 trillion package that includes proposals addressing bridges to nurses, Republicans are struggling to begin putting together their own package-- underscoring the titanic effort that will be needed to reach a bipartisan agreement... Republicans agree on one thing: They don't like Biden's proposal. But that's about all."
[T]he lack of a GOP alternative could make it easier for Democrats to again throw up their hands and move ahead with a partisan bill that uses a budget maneuver to avoid the filibuster. Some Democrats aides already doubt that Republicans will accept any deal.
Biden and other Democrats insist that they want to negotiate a bipartisan plan and are eager to see what Republicans are willing to support. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who is seen as a winnable vote, told reporters that Capito's $600 billion-to-$800 billion range "seems a little high."
Some Republican aides doubt that Democrats are serious about compromising and suspect that they will steamroll Republicans again, as they did with the Covid-19 relief package.
The White House, which has met with lawmakers from both parties to discuss his proposals, says Biden wants to negotiate.
Unfortunately, Biden wants to negotiate with austerity hawks, reactionaries and professed enemies of working families. He has zero interest in negotiating with progressives who find his bill a step in the right direction but inadequate to meet the needs it purposes to address. Alan Grayson, the best possible Democrat to run for the Florida Senate seat being wasted by Marco Rubio, put the GOP opposition into some historical context: "The GOP wants to cut off America’s nose to spite Joe Biden’s face. It is a game that the GOP has been playing since FDR was President."
Washington state congressional candidate Jason Call, noted that "At this point Democrats shouldn’t be negotiating anything at all with the GOP. First of all, the deficit is simply not an issue-- there’s no evidence that this kind of spending will result in the inflation, that’s a fear tactic based in economic falsehoods designed purely to keep wealth inequality in place. Second, the bill-- much like the first package-- drastically underspends on infrastructure. Charging stations are great -- how many people can afford new electric vehicles in an economy where half of us are struggling to make rent. Where’s the federal jobs guarantee that we need that would couple with the Green New Deal to truly revitalize and revolutionize our transportation infrastructure? Third, the GOP is showing the same obstructionist hand they’ve shown for forty years now. Democrats should not be allowing Mitch McConnell a single penny of his denial tactics, but thanks to a refusal to address the filibuster and the GOP-lite grandstanding of Sinema and Manchin (both of whom are being rewarded by their corporate donors for shutting down the $15 wage) it looks like Biden’s approach is going to be more 'our hands are tied'. We’ve all gotten used to it but it’s a ridiculous game that continually leaves the working class behind. If Biden wants to leave a legacy that is any semblance of greatness, it starts here and now by taking on the obstructionists in the GOP *and* the Democratic Party."
Republican senators are unified in opposing the $2.25 trillion price tag, a corporate tax hike (which Capito called a "nonnegotiable red line") and spending provisions that they say don't count as infrastructure, such as elder care.
"I think we're united that the president's package is not an infrastructure package. It's a huge tax increase," said Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the top Republican on the Commerce Committee.
Wicker added that Biden's package is "way too big."
"To accommodate our Democratic friends and White House, we're perfectly-- we're willing to talk about a much larger infrastructure package than we're used to," he said, adding that he was "optimistic" after his one-hour, 40-minute meeting with Biden.
And Republicans doubt that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would support any deal.
"If Democrats want to negotiate in good faith on a truly infrastructure package, I don't know if it would get Senator McConnell's vote, but I think there are a number of Republican votes in support of a package to include the highway bill, water, sewer, broadband, things like that," Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) said Wednesday. "Much smaller than what the Democrats have proposed, but more focused."
An NPR/PBS/Marist poll taken this month found that 56 percent of U.S. adults support Biden's plan; 34 percent said they oppose it.
Democrats may ultimately move ahead without Republican support. But because of razor-thin margins in both chambers, they will need just about all their members to be on board to pass a bill.