Senate Republicans unveil $928B infrastructure counter-proposal

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Senate Republicans unveiled their $928 billion infrastructure proposal on Thursday in response to the Biden Administration’s mammoth $1.7 trillion proposal. 

The GOP’s latest counteroffer — led by by GOP Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Mike Crapo of Idaho and John Barrasso of Wyoming — would provide $506 billion for roads and bridges and other major projects, with $4 billion being allocated toward electric vehicle infrastructure; $98 billion for public transit systems, $46 billion for passenger and freight rail, $21 billion for safety, $22 billion for ports and waterways, $56 billion for airports, $22 billion for western water storage, $72 billion for water infrastructure, $65 billion for broadband infrastructure and 20 billion for infrastructure financing. 

The $928 billion number is a substantial increase from the group’s initial $568 billion proposal in April. 

The latest offer comes as parties struggle to come to a consensus on top line numbers and what should be included in the sweeping package.

Last week, the Biden administration offered a slightly more modest $1.7 trillion infrastructure bill to Senate Republican, coming down from their initial $2.3 trillion plan.

The Republican senators said their offer delivers on “core infrastructure investments” that Biden has focused on as areas of potential bipartisan agreement. But their overall approach is likely to be met with skepticism by Democrats and the White House. 

The two sides remain far apart, with GOP lawmakers expressing frustrations with Democrats over provisions that would not traditionally be considered infrastructure, calling for the White House to narrow the scope. 

“It’s a serious effort to try to reach a bipartisan agreement,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the lead GOP negotiator.

The White House has been aiming for a Memorial Day deadline to make progress toward a bipartisan deal, however, Democrats ultimately have the option to ram through infrastructure bills without Republican support under special budget reconciliation rules that circumvent the usual 60-vote requirement to pass the Senate. 

With Associated Press

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