TOP News

Politics: Lawmakers scramble to get pet projects funded under infrastructure plan

Sen. John Thune claims only 6% of Biden bill is actual infrastructure

  Sen. John Thune claims only 6% of Biden bill is actual infrastructure Only 6% of President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill actually is focused on infrastructure, South Dakota's Republican Senator John Thune claimed Sunday morning. The comments come as Biden's Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg wouldn't rule out adding in a way to get so-called 'dreamers' citizenship in the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package.'If they are interested in roads, bridges, highways and perhaps broadband, then there is a deal to be had there,' Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, told 'Fox News Sunday' host Chris Wallace.

As Democrats work to turn President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure outline into a concrete plan, lawmakers are scrambling to ensure projects helpful to their own states make it into the final cut of the bill.

a construction site © Provided by Washington Examiner

Members of the House and Senate are pushing to get a cut of the massive federal spending package directed toward home-state tunnels, highways, train routes, and more.

BREAKING DOWN WHAT'S REALLY IN BIDEN'S INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN

Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats are still debating how to pay for the sprawling plan. Biden met Monday at the White House with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to debate whether to raise the corporate tax rate to pay for the bill, as the White House suggested, as well as some of the things that might make it into the final legislation.

Roads, bridges ... and caregivers? Why Biden is pushing a ‘radical shift’ to redefine infrastructure

  Roads, bridges ... and caregivers? Why Biden is pushing a ‘radical shift’ to redefine infrastructure Caregiving is the most glaring example of how Biden expanded the traditional definition of infrastructure in his $2 trillion jobs plan."Caregivers – we're the maintainers of life," an impassioned Williams, 34, said during a zoom call with frontline health care workers hosted by the soon-to-be president.

Here are some examples of the kinds of pricey projects that could get funding under the plan.

GATEWAY TUNNEL

New York and New Jersey lawmakers from both parties have spent years trying to score federal funds for a tunnel connecting their two states by rail under the Hudson River.

But conservatives on Capitol Hill have long fought to stop taxpayer money from flowing to a regional project from which most people wouldn’t benefit. Facing a potential government shutdown in 2018, former President Donald Trump even threatened to veto an entire omnibus spending bill if it included any money for Gateway.

Funding for the expensive project is likely to end up in the infrastructure package, however. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New Yorker, has already said the tunnel is “ripe for funding from the president’s jobs plan.”

Biden releases breakdown of what needs fixing for infrastructure plan

  Biden releases breakdown of what needs fixing for infrastructure plan Republicans slammed President Joe Biden's $2.7 trillion infrastructure plan as a 'dog's breakfast of slush funds' for Democrats as White House releases state-by-state breakdown of what needs fixing.Biden will host four GOP lawmakers - along with four Democratic ones - on Monday to discuss his massive infrastructure plan, which Republicans have criticized for containing more than traditional infrastructure projects.

Trump and conservatives opposed funding Gateway in the past because they said New York and New Jersey had not directed enough of their own state funds toward the project. A Republican congressional aide told the Washington Examiner that some GOP members are likely to resist an influx of funding for Gateway.

Biden’s infrastructure blueprint sets aside $80 billion for Amtrak repairs, $85 billion to modernize and expand transit systems, both of which could be categories under which the Gateway project could fall.

WILMINGTON CAP

Lawmakers in Biden’s home state of Delaware have pushed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to prioritize a project that would put an “urban park” on top of a roof they would like to see built over Interstate 95.

“We are proposing a cap on I-95 in order to help heal our city and to reconnect communities that were disconnected by the construction of a highway through neighborhoods in less affluent areas,” some Delaware Democrats wrote in a letter to Buttigieg in February.

GOP to present their own smaller $650 billion infrastructure proposal

  GOP to present their own smaller $650 billion infrastructure proposal Many GOP members have criticized Biden's bill for including in-home care, climate change, and housing under a plan meant to focus on 'infrastructure'Many GOP members have criticized Biden's bill for including in-home care, climate change, and housing under a plan meant to focus on 'infrastructure.

Biden’s infrastructure plan sets aside $20 billion specifically for “a new program that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments” and mandates that projects funded under the program “advance racial equity,” making the Wilmington park a potential candidate for funding.

Proponents of this kind of infrastructure investment argue many highways were built decades ago without regard to the surrounding communities and often cut through communities of color, isolating them.

CALIFORNIA HIGH SPEED RAIL

Golden State lawmakers are likely to push for funding that could help finish construction of a rail line that, if fully funded through completion, could stretch from Sacramento to San Diego.

Buttigieg has said the project could receive some funding from the final version of the infrastructure package.

Local experts said the infrastructure package could be a “lifeline” for the project, which has been in the works for years. But the estimated price tag for a Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed line has ballooned to $100 billion, and it has already faced delays and construction challenges that could complicate lawmakers’ efforts to argue it deserves more federal funding.

Biden's bridge to nowhere

  Biden's bridge to nowhere President Biden’s push to make his $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill a truly bipartisan affair is running up against a predictable but intractable problem: a lack of Republicans willing to come along. If that dynamic holds, Biden may be forced to use the same brute legislative force he did to pass the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. “This is not an infrastructure plan,” went a recent complaint from Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who heads the National Republican Congressional Committee. He described the infrastructure plan as a “vehicle to advance an extreme socialist agenda.

VEGAS TO LA RAIL

Amtrak published a map of proposed new routes shortly after Biden unveiled his infrastructure outline late last month; the map included a rail line running from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

The idea is popular with local officials because so much tourism in Las Vegas comes from Southern California.

The project could cost $8 billion to complete, according to some estimates, and local news outlets have reported a flurry of interest from state-level officials in pursuing funding for a project that was delayed in part due to the pandemic.

SOCIAL PROGRAMS

The Congressional Progressive Caucus said a survey of its 95 left-wing members revealed the five proposals that should be prioritized for funding in the package, but none were actual infrastructure projects.

The liberal lawmakers said a $450 billion investment into home-based care services and paid family leave was the top priority, followed by $115 billion in affordable housing programs, a legislative push to lower prescription drug prices, an investment in “climate jobs,” and a pathway to citizenship for several different groups of immigrants.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Biden’s proposal included a number of policy priorities that had little to do with the traditional understanding of infrastructure, sparking pushback from Republicans who already considered the price tag on the plan too high. In addition to the bridges and tunnels lawmakers will try to get funded in the bill, progressive lawmakers are likely to push for the social programs the White House has tried to pass off as infrastructure.

Tags: News, Infrastructure, Pete Buttigieg, Corporate tax, White House

Original Author: Sarah Westwood

Original Location: Lawmakers scramble to get pet projects funded under infrastructure plan

The politics of going big .
Women and people of color were crucial to Biden’s presidential win, and they’re crucial to his jobs plan.Taken together, President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan and newly introduced $1.8 trillion American Families Plan come out to slightly over $4 trillion in proposed new spending. It’s an enormous investment in American job creation; the last bipartisan infrastructure bill Congress passed in 2015 clocked in at about $305 billion — about one-thirteenth the size of Biden’s proposed plan. And Obama’s $800 billion stimulus plan of 2009 was about one-fifth of Biden’s plan, not even taking into account the $1.

See also