President Biden is facing opposition to his new $2 trillion infrastructure proposal from both sides of the aisle, with Republicans warning it goes too far and progressives furious it doesn’t go far enough.
The two-part “Build Back Better” proposal, a centerpiece of his post-COVID campaign message, will be split into two packages for Congress to pass.
The first part, focused on infrastructure, is not being well received by the left or the right.
On the left, progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) voiced their concerns that not enough was covered in part one of the legislation.
Speaking to reporters last week, Warren said “I care about getting it done, and we need all the parts done. We need roads and bridges and child care. We need to attack the climate crisis head on.”
“I want to see the details of how they’re planning to make sure that the climate issues and the child care issues don’t get left behind. We can’t have the train leave the station and critical parts are left on the platform.”
This week, Warren is singing a different tune, however, tweeting Wednesday that, “[T]he #AmericanJobsPlan is a game-changer and full of ideas that progressives like me are fighting for to make long-overdue investments in America’s future.”
Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, is sticking to her belief that the first part of Biden’s bill does not do nearly enough.
“This is not nearly enough. The important context here is that it’s $2.25T spread out over 10 years. For context, the COVID package was $1.9T for this year *alone,* with some provision lasting 2 years,” the Democratic socialist tweeted Tuesday.
Speaking on a call with reporters Tuesday, Jayapal argued that Biden was not delivering on his campaign promises with this bill in its current form.
“The Biden infrastructure proposal on the campaign trail was significantly larger than what’s been discussed so far with Build Back Better,” she said, noting that candidate-Biden proposed up to $11 trillion in spending over 10 years.
Jayapal noted during her press call that she believed there was “ample room” to get the final cost “up to somewhere in that range in order to really tackle the scale of investment that we need to make.”
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) unveiled a far grander infrastructure proposal last Monday calling for $10 trillion in spending over the next decade.
On the right flank, Biden is essentially dealing with the opposite problem, with Republicans voicing concern about the price of this latest package — and it’s priorities.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Oh.), a retiring moderate known for his penchant for bipartisanship, not only slammed the bill this week, but Biden’s approach to pushing it through Congress.
In a statement Wednesday, Portman said that he supports “improving America’s aging roads, bridges, ports, and other infrastructure.”
What he did not support, however, was Biden’s steep new tax proposals to pay for the package, saying he would not undo the previous administration’s tax cuts to do so.
“To pay for part of this massive new spending package, 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,” the Ohio senator said.
“We can work together to find common-sense ways to pay for real infrastructure legislation without resorting to partisan tax hikes that will hurt our economy,” he continued.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) slammed the package as “really just the Green New Deal-lite masquerading as an infrastructure plan,” Fox News reported.
And Sen. Hagerty (R-Tenn.) echoed the sentiment.
“I will not support a sweeping spending spree full of pet projects for Democrats that are not paid for and that advance the Green New Deal under the guise of infrastructure using the money of hardworking Tennessee taxpayers,” Hagerty said.
Speaking to reporters in his home state on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Republicans will fight the package “every step of the way.”
“I don’t think the American people gave them a mandate to drive our country all the way to the political left,” McConnell said. “I’m going to fight them every step of the way.”
“I like him [Biden] personally, I mean, we’ve been friends for a long time. He’s a first-rate person. Nevertheless, this is a bold, left-wing administration. I don’t think they have a mandate to do what they’re doing.”