Transportation

Key Senate Republican slams Biden plan as ‘wrong approach’

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a key Senate moderate, slammed President Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan on Wednesday, calling it the “wrong approach” because of its price tag and its taxes on businesses. 

“The total soars to $3 trillion with its inclusion of these broad policy priorities that are a far cry away from what we’ve ever defined as infrastructure,” Portman, one of 10 Republican senators who met with Biden at the White House in early February, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. He cited the “hundreds of billions of dollars of spending on priorities like health care, workforce development, and research and development.”

Portman, who sits on the Finance Committee and serves as an adviser to the Senate Republican leadership team, also took a shot at Biden’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent and end various business tax breaks to pay for the cost of the package over 15 years.

“President Biden proposes steep new taxes on businesses which will hurt working families and last more than a decade. This is the wrong approach, and will only undermine our economy at a time when we are beginning to recover,” he said in his statement.

Portman’s statement is an early indication that if Biden’s infrastructure plans picks up any Republican support, it won’t be much.

The criticism from a key Republican moderate — one of the Democrats’ better hopes for bipartisanship — calls into question whether breaking up Biden’s ambitious infrastructure agenda into two pieces will indeed secure a major bipartisan accomplishment during his first year in office.

Portman on Wednesday asserted that only $620 billion of Biden’s proposed investment is in traditional transportation infrastructure.

He argues the president and Democrats would be better served using the surface transportation infrastructure bill that passed unanimously out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as a template.

“I support improving America’s aging roads, bridges, ports, and other infrastructure. And we can do so in a bipartisan way. Last Congress, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved bipartisan infrastructure legislation by a vote of 21-0,” he said. “This bipartisan approach last Congress totaled $287 billion, yet the Biden plan introduced today costs more than $2 trillion.

Portman joined every other Republican in the Senate and House in voting against Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan after the president and Democrats rejected a counterproposal he offered with other GOP moderates to spend $618 billion to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tags Child care Coronavirus COVID-19 Infrastructure Joe Biden Rob Portman Tax reform

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