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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 McConnellGOP acknowledges struggle to bring down Biden Pew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Pelosi on power in DC: 'You have to seize it' MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said there could be a few Democratic defections on President BidenJoe BidenSuspect in FedEx shooting used two assault rifles he bought legally: police US, China say they are 'committed' to cooperating on climate change DC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is MORE’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal, declaring the expensive plan is more in line with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWorld passes 3 million coronavirus deaths Sirota: Biden has not fulfilled campaign promise of combating union-busting tactics Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents MORE (I-Vt.) than Democratic centrists.

McConnell has his eye on maverick Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinGOP acknowledges struggle to bring down Biden On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats 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 WarrenWorld passes 3 million coronavirus deaths Poll: 56 percent say wealth tax is part of solution to inequality Democratic senators call on Biden to support waiving vaccine patents 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."

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McConnell said he thinks there’s a chance Republicans can force Biden to scale down his plan even though Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Former state Rep. Vernon Jones launches challenge to Kemp in Georgia Schumer lays groundwork for future filibuster reform 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 TrumpDC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' Taylor Greene defends 'America First' effort, pushes back on critics 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.