Reprinted with permission from American Independent
President Joe Biden is reportedly preparing a plan for somewhere between $3- and $4 trillion in American infrastructure improvements. While Congressional Republicans are again making noise about opposing it, a new poll finds wide support for many of its likely components.
A survey by Data for Progress and the pro-infrastructure group Invest in America, released Tuesday, found that 57 percent of American likely voters believe now is the time for a big investment, while just 35 percent believe it is not.
When told of the basics of a $4 trillion infrastructure plan, voters backed it 69 percent to 22 percent. Even Republicans supported it 50 percent to 42 percent.
Asked about specific components likely to be included in Biden's Build Back Better plan, the vast majority of Americans surveyed supported each:
- 87 percent support repairing roads and bridges — including 84 percent of Republicans.
- 85 percent support repairing drinking water systems — including 80 percent of Republicans.
- 79 percent support improving broadband in rural communities — including 72 percent of Republicans.
- 68 percent support building and promoting pollution-free public transit — including a 49 percent plurality of Republicans.
- 72 percent support modernizing the electrical grid with clean energy infrastructure — including 56 percent of Republicans.
- 68 percent support cleaning up abandoned gas wells and mines — including 56 percent of Republicans.
- 71 percent support weatherizing homes and buildings for better energy efficiency — including 59 percent of Republicans.
- 77 percent support modernizing schools and early learning centers — including 67 percent of Republicans.
Like the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, this legislation could be passed under budget reconciliation rules that allow the majority to enact legislation with just 51 votes in the Senate — circumventing the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid the filibuster. Or the two parties could collaborate and pass some or all of the plan through the normal process if at least ten Senate Republicans opt to work with the Democratic majority.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said earlier this month that he will not back using reconciliation for an infrastructure bill without trying to work out a deal with Republicans first.
But Senate Republicans — who unanimously opposed the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief law despite strong public support, even among GOP voters — are already signaling they'd rather try to obstruct this plan too.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that his caucus will oppose any new revenue to pay for the infrastructure, calling Biden's plan a "Trojan horse."
He predicted that the Democrats will pass the bill on their own, without GOP support: "I fully expect that's what they'll try to do, and that's because I don't think there's going to be any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase."
Asked about plans to collaborate on portions where there is agreement and to consider the rest under reconciliation rules, Senate Minority Whip John Thune told HuffPost on Tuesday: "If the ploy is to lure Republicans to vote for the easy stuff and then do all the controversial stuff through reconciliation — I don't think our guys take the bait."
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) dismissed the plan as a "boondoggle."
Donald Trump ran in 2016 on a promise to enact a massive infrastructure plan to "build the next generation of roads, bridges, railways, tunnels, sea ports, and airports."
He falsely claimed in his June 2015 presidential campaign announcement that he would "rebuild the country's infrastructure" better than anybody else could. "Believe me. It will be done on time, on budget, way below cost, way below what anyone ever thought."
But his promised $2 trillion plan went nowhere with either Democrats or Republicans in Congress, his administration's botched "infrastructure week" kickoffs became a national joke, and he called off bipartisan negotiations in 2019 because he was mad House Democrats were doing oversight of his administration.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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