McConnell looking for Democratic defections on $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan

McConnell looking for Democratic defections on $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: I'm going to give Biden's Supreme Court nominee 'a fair look' Progressive millionaire group backs Cisneros, McBath in first public endorsements Clyburn calls for full-court press on voting rights MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said there could be a few Democratic defections on President BidenJoe BidenCourt nixes offshore drilling leases auctioned by Biden administration Laquan McDonald's family pushes for federal charges against officer ahead of early release Biden speaks with Ukrainian president amid Russian threat MORE’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal, declaring the expensive plan is more in line with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersMcConnell warns Biden not to 'outsource' Supreme Court pick to 'radical left' Briahna Joy Gray discusses Pelosi's 2022 re-election announcement Ocasio-Cortez: Supporting Sinema challenge by someone like Gallego would be easy decision MORE (I-Vt.) than Democratic centrists.

McConnell has his eye on maverick Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Health Care — ObamaCare gets record numbers On The Money — Economy had post-recession growth in 2021 Progressives apply pressure on Biden, Senate to pass Build Back Better MORE (D-W.Va.), who the GOP leader says isn’t wild about Biden’s proposal.

“What I think you can safely say about the new administration three or four months in: It’s a hard left administration. Bernie Sanders is really happy with the way this is going because they’re basically adopting his and [Sen.] Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats press cryptomining companies on energy consumption Ocasio-Cortez: Supporting Sinema challenge by someone like Gallego would be easy decision Over 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation MORE’s [D-Mass.] view of what America ought to be like on every single recommendation,” McConnell said at a press conference in Paducah, Ky.

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“The good news is the Senate is 50-50,” he added and noted Democrats have only a three-seat majority in the House.

McConnell said he’s “hopeful that not every single Democrat” will back the infrastructure bill and centrists “will have some skepticism about this massive growth of government.”

He acknowledged, though, that every Senate Democrat voted for Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which didn’t get a single Republican vote in either chamber.

The GOP leader called Biden’s infrastructure proposal “a Trojan horse for massive tax increases and a whole lot of more debt and whole lot of spending,” hitting on talking points that he has sounded repeatedly in recent days.

“They’re sort of thrown everything but the kitchen sink into it,” he said. “The good news is they have a narrow majority in the House and a really, really narrow majority in the Senate and hopefully there will be some Democrats who share our views we ought to tackle infrastructure in a more modest way."

McConnell said he thinks there’s a chance Republicans can force Biden to scale down his plan even though Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBreyer retirement throws curveball into midterms Schumer vows to vote on Biden Supreme Court pick with 'all deliberate speed' Voting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? MORE (D-N.Y.) plans to bypass a Republican filibuster by using budget reconciliation to pass it through the Senate with a simple-majority vote.

"This is a tough sell, a tough sell, when you’ve basically crafted a package, as I said, [that] Bernie Sanders is wild about but Joe Manchin isn’t,” he added.

Manchin said Monday that he does not support Biden’s plan to pay for infrastructure spending by raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent. He said 25 percent is a more appropriate level.

President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered the corporate tax rate to 21 percent.

Manchin has also called for paying for as much of Biden’s infrastructure package as possible, though he has stayed away from saying how much the infrastructure initiative should cost in total.