The large Democrat package would allocate $400 billion for the care of the elderly and disabled, among other provisions that would not be covered in typical infrastructure bills. Republicans want to cut the total amount by narrowing the focus to building and upgrading roads, bridges, and other traditional infrastructure pieces.
“What I’d like to do is get back to what I consider the regular definition of infrastructure in terms of job creation. So that’s roads, bridges, ports, airports, including broadband into that water infrastructure,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Capito floated a package that would come in at the $600 to $800 billion range.
“We haven’t put all of that together yet,” she continued.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told reporters on Capitol Hill that he believes an $800 billion package might be too high before repeating a wish to concentrate on roads, airports, and other traditional infrastructure elements.
The so-called gang of 20, a group of Republican and Democrat members of Congress, plans to discuss a slimmed-down package on Thursday.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), part of the gang, said lawmakers are in communication with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who heads the National Governors Association “to try and come up with something which is truly focused on infrastructure.”
“If you look at the $2.2 trillion bill or whatever it is now, only about 6 percent of it is devoted to roads and bridges,” he told reporters in Washington.
Some members of the gang met with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the White House on Monday on infrastructure. The meeting occurred behind closed doors and did not end in any big breakthroughs.
A bill in the range floated by Capito, if it’s for roads and bridges, would gain backing from Cassidy, who said to expect a definitive proposal in the future. According to Romney, the application is in the early stages.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), another moderate Republican, said earlier this month that cutting the infrastructure bill down to roughly $615 billion would be an “easy win” for the Biden administration, easily attracting enough GOP backing.
Biden’s current plan would be paid for by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, which has itself drawn pushback from Republicans who voted for the Trump era tax bill, which cut the same rate from 35 percent to where it is now. Democrats need to draw at least 10 Republican votes in the Senate, unless they again turn to budget reconciliation, further undermining Biden’s promise to govern by unifying the nation.