White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain is insisting that President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure package should be able to attract bipartisan support — despite its broad definition of “infrastructure” and exorbitant price tag to match.
In a new interview with “Axios on HBO,” Klain glazed over the fact that the Biden plan targets issues such as racial inequality, care for elderly and disabled people and climate change under the banner of “infrastructure,” arguing that it proposes fixes Republicans have expressed as priorities.
“I don’t think it’s big government to fix the 10 bridges in this country that are most economically significant and are in serious” disrepair, Klain told “Axios on HBO,” which aired Sunday evening.
“Most of these Republicans have stood in front of a Rotary Club or a Kiwanis Club and given a speech about how we need to fix our bridges, roads, our highways, our infrastructure,” Klain said.
“People stand up and give speeches all the time about how people should have affordable childcare. It’s basic, basic things that we’re putting forward. And, again, I think they should have bipartisan support.”
But Republicans’ objections to the plan include the massive price tag, the proposal to raise taxes to pay for it, and it how goes well beyond traditional infrastructure projects like repairing roads and bridges.
Last month, Senate Republicans laid out a $568 billion counter-proposal that funds roads and bridges, but doesn’t include money for issues like racial inequality, climate change and care for the elderly and disabled people.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) blasted Biden’s plan for its “reckless spending.”
“When I look at this, this is a staggering amount of spending, like someone with a new credit card, and these are for things that we don’t necessarily need, we certainly can’t afford, but they’re going to delight the liberal left of the party,” Barrasso said earlier this month on ABC News’ “This Week.”
Biden is expected to meet with the lawmakers – including Barrasso – who unveiled the pared-down plan this week at the White House.
The president will meet with Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, Pat Toomey, Mike Crapo, Roy Blunt, and Roger Wicker.
The confab will come a day after Biden huddles Wednesday with congressional leaders – Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Over the weekend, McCarthy blasted Biden’s proposal as out-of-control spending on Democratic priorities that would hit most Americans in the wallet.
McCarthy, of California, told host John Catsimatidis on his radio show on WABC 970 AM that there’s no “need to spend these trillions of dollars” on the package.
“The real challenge is in these great big bills there’s just waste, fraud, abuse, but more importantly corruption,” McCarthy said in the interview that aired Sunday.
McCarthy called Biden’s claim that most Americans won’t see a hike in their taxes a “lie.”
“When the president talks about not raising taxes on people under $400,000, that’s a lie. Every day you watch the inflation that he is creating. This is the Biden Tax,” he said.