Business groups applaud bipartisan infrastructure deal
Business groups applauded the bipartisan infrastructure deal announced by President Biden on Thursday and urged Congress to swiftly pass the proposal.
Biden and a bipartisan group of senators reached an agreement that includes $579 billion in new spending on infrastructure projects for a total of $1.2 trillion over eight years.
In a major win for business groups, the infrastructure plan would not raise taxes on corporations. Instead, it would be paid for with unused COVID-19 relief money, user fees, increased tax compliance and other measures.
“Our nation’s economic strength and long-term competitiveness depend on a robust and modern infrastructure,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark said in a statement Thursday. “We applaud the White House and [bipartisan] group of senators for agreeing on a framework to invest in critical, physical infrastructure.”
National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons echoed those sentiments in a separate statement saying: “This is how we build to win. This shows that governing with big ideas is still possible in America.”
“Bold infrastructure investment will secure a better future for our nation and industry and help more Americans reach their full potential,” Timmons added. “And building it on a foundation of bipartisanship and consensus will help restore faith in our institutions — and prove that America can still bridge party divides to do great things.”
Biden initially proposed a $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan that included a series of tax hikes on corporations, drawing pushback from influential business groups that have called for revamping the nation’s infrastructure but oppose higher corporate taxes.
The bipartisan proposal focuses on traditional infrastructure such as roads, bridges, rail and broadband. The plan includes $7.5 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure, far less than Biden initially proposed.
Progressive lawmakers have complained the proposal is too small compared to Biden’s original plan. They’re prodding Biden and moderate Democratic senators to commit to backing a separate, larger spending package that can sidestep a GOP filibuster after the bipartisan measure.
“There is not going to be a bipartisan agreement without a major reconciliation package,” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told reporters Thursday afternoon.
Business groups are pushing Democrats to take the bipartisan deal and reject a larger spending package that would pass through budget reconciliation without Republican votes.
“Now we are on the cusp of a bipartisan agreement to invest more than a $1 trillion in infrastructure and some in Congress are trying to torpedo that deal unless they get $5 trillion in spending on unrelated items,” Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer, said in a statement Thursday.
“Members of Congress should of course advocate for their priorities, but should not hold back broadband for underserved communities, safe drinking water for America’s cities, and a modernized transportation system for our nation,” he added.
Biden said Thursday the infrastructure bill will move on a “dual track” with a separate spending package that advances Democratic priorities.