Biden says he will 'push as hard as I can' to pass infrastructure bill

Biden says he will 'push as hard as I can' to pass infrastructure bill
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President BidenJoe BidenGOP report on COVID-19 origins homes in on lab leak theory READ: The .2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE on Monday pledged to fight as hard as possible to pass an infrastructure package as he defended his $2.25 trillion proposal amid Republican criticism that it contains provisions unrelated to infrastructure.

Speaking to reporters at the White House upon returning from Camp David, where he spent Easter weekend, Biden suggested Republican lawmakers are acting hypocritically in criticizing his plan.

“It’s kind of interesting that when the Republicans put forward an infrastructure plan, they thought everything from broadband from dealing with other things was in the range of infrastructure. Now they’re saying that only a small portion of what I am saying is infrastructure,” Biden told reporters. “It’s interesting to see how their definition of infrastructure has changed. They know we need it.” 

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The president argued that provisions of his plan such as removing lead pipes to ensure safe drinking water and fixing federal buildings count as infrastructure.

Biden also pushed back on Republican criticism of his plan to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent in order to pay for the package, saying there is “no evidence” that doing so will drive U.S.-based companies to relocate in other countries. 

“I’m going to push as hard as I can to change the circumstance so we can compete with the rest of the world,” Biden said. “Everybody around the world is investing billions and billions of dollars in infrastructure and we’re going to do it here.” 

Biden unveiled his $2.25 trillion infrastructure package last week. It has since generated substantial Republican criticism over provisions included to address climate change and a corporate tax rate increase the president has proposed to pay for the plan.

The Republican opposition to the plan indicates that Biden will need to resort to budget reconciliation to try to pass it without GOP support, which would require him to get every Democrat in the Senate to vote in favor of it.

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Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Manchin on reported boos at Democratic luncheon: 'I heard a lot of nos' Schumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget MORE (D-W.Va.), a critical swing vote, complicated that path Monday when he said he didn't support Biden's plan to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent and had other problems with the bill as well.

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon passes on Senate campaign MORE (R-Mo.) in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” argued that 30 percent of Biden’s plan focuses on traditional infrastructure and suggested that the White House reduce the dollar amount of the package to about $615 billion in order to pass it.

“I think there’s an easy win here for the White House if they would take that win, which is make this an infrastructure package, which is about 30 percent — even if you stretch the definition of infrastructure some — it’s about 30 percent of the $2.25 trillion we are talking about spending,” Blunt said.

“If we’d go back and look at roads and bridges and ports and airports, and maybe even underground water systems and broadband, you’d still be talking about less than 30 perfect of this entire package,” Blunt continued. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Manchin 'can't imagine' supporting change to filibuster for voting rights Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet MORE (R-Ky.) said last week that Republicans would not support the bill and pledged to fight Democrats’ agenda “every step of the way.”

The White House has said Biden is open to input from Republicans and Democrats and will hold meetings on the proposal after the Easter recess, but officials have made clear Biden is not ruling out trying to pass a package without GOP support. Biden would not say Monday where there was room for negotiation on the proposal.