The Biden administration has put forward a substantial infrastructure spending proposal, and Democratic leaders are hoping to make serious progress on the plan in coming months — but so far, no Republican members of Congress have expressed support for the initiative, no matter the fact that it has repeatedly garnered serious support among the American people in polling. The situation is similar to what unfolded around the COVID-19 economic relief package that Biden enacted recently — it had high public support, but no Congressional Republicans agreed to it.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pointed out the realities on CNN’s State of the Union over the weekend. He also reiterated that the Biden team is interested in negotiating and moving forward with Republican members of Congress in the development of the final infrastructure proposal, thereby dismantling the Republican talking point that Biden has somehow abandoned bipartisanship. The ball is squarely in Republicans’ court.
Discussing whether the Biden team would be willing to pass the infrastructure spending through a procedure called budget reconciliation, which allows for the passage of legislation in the Senate with just 51 votes in favor, Buttigieg said:
‘The president has said we have to get this done, so inaction is not an option, but there is a strong preference for the president, the administration, certainly for me, to do these things in regular order. It’s better from a policy perspective, and it’s how this administration prefers to work. So I’m going to keep burning up those phone lines, talking to Republicans, listening to Republicans, and trying to get somewhere we can all agree on… it is a remarkable fact that this package, as a whole and in its pieces, already has bipartisan support.’
Buttigieg’s reference to the bipartisan support that the proposal already has regarded polling results that have shown strong support for the plan among members of the public. In a recent Morning Consult survey, 47 percent of Republican respondents backed infrastructure spending without corporate tax increases, while 33 percent of GOP respondents said they supported going through with corporate tax hikes to support infrastructure. The commonality between 80 percent of Republican respondents is that they backed infrastructure spending in some form!
Buttigieg added as follows:
‘The president wants to see major action in Congress and real progress by Memorial Day… The sooner, the better, I think is the bottom line. We’ve gotta get this done. We’re gonna take onboard a lot of ideas. We’re gonna negotiate, but we can’t just sit here and let the clock run out, because the American people can’t wait. This work can’t wait. We should have been doing this years ago, and each passing day, America falls further behind while strategic competitors like China are not hesitating to make the investments that it takes to win the future.’
Check out Buttigieg’s comments below:
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says "inaction is not an option, but there is a strong preference for the President" to do things in regular order when it comes to the infrastructure bill and reconciliation. He says he'll continue to reach out to Republicans. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/3G5qxSjac3
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 11, 2021