President Joe Biden is running out of time for his goal of reaching an agreement with congressional Republicans to support a part of his wide-ranging infrastructure proposal. After weeks of outreach by White House aides to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Biden is having high-profile meetings this week with influential senators, both Republicans and Democrats, whose input could shape the outlines of any final bill, CNBC writes.
In theory, Biden could reach an agreement with Republicans, especially if he agrees to split the massive $1.8 trillion American Jobs Plan package into two or more separate bills. However, with each passing day, the partisan divide grows deeper over how to finance the much-needed infrastructure investments.
So far, Democrats have rejected a Republican proposal to fund the plan through user fees. White House officials have said that this amounts to a tax hike on middle-class Americans who drive. What the Democrats propose though, is raising the corporate tax rate and closing loopholes that would effectively mean corporations and the very richest Americans pay for the plan, CNBC adds.
According to advocates and analysts on both sides, at the moment there are no visible areas of overlap between the Democratic and Republican funding plans.
“We’ve never had a president spend this much time and political capital on infrastructure,” said Kevin DeGood, who leads the infrastructure policy team at the progressive Center for American Progress.
“I’m cautiously optimistic about a compromise bill because it’s a personal priority of the president’s,” said Republican strategist Michael Steel, a partner at Hamilton Place Strategies and a former top aide to then-House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The President previously stated that 75% of the jobs his American Jobs Plan would create are for people who have only a high school diploma. Also impacting the public debate over infrastructure this week is the news that one of America’s largest energy pipeline operators, Colonial Pipeline, has been crippled by a ransomware cyberattack.