Justin Bullock, FISM News
The debate over President Biden’s infrastructure bill is still ongoing. Originally, President Biden hoped to arrive at a bipartisan compromise by the end of May, 2021 but that deadline has long passed. FISM News reported on Biden’s original proposal as well as the Republican counter-offer at the end of May. Now, after negotiations broke down between Congressional Republicans led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) and the President, a bipartisan group led by Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) are trying to put forward a plan for the infrastructure bill that everyone can agree to.
Up to this point the main topic of contention has had to do with the funding of the plan. President Biden initially submitted a bill that would cost $2.25 trillion. Most of this original amount was considered new spending to be added onto the annual budget, meaning that it would principally be paid for through increasing taxes across the board, but especially for large corporations and high earning individuals. Republicans were immediately against raising taxes and even the bipartisan group working on a different compromise is committed to not increasing taxes in their own proposal.
Senator Capito initially submitted a $1 trillion counter-offer to President Biden. Her plan was primarily funded through the redirecting of funds already in the budget earmarked for COVID-19 relief. The bipartisan group attempting to rescue the infrastructure bill has submitted a plan that would cost $1.25 trillion, but even this group is still firming up exact details about where the money will come from.
In any case, it is expected that debate over any new infrastructure reform law will persist for weeks to come. Some Democrats believe that ultimately, due to their majority in the House and tie breaking ability in the Senate, they should pass a bill that they want without too much consideration given to Republican lawmakers. Other Democrats believe that the risk of such an action in the face of future midterm elections is too great and that a bipartisan compromise is possible and the only way forward.