As Congress continues its work on an infrastructure spending proposal from the Biden administration, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) says that she wants “to have some real negotiations” because “so often lately, we don’t see the Republicans coming together with a real effort to negotiate.” Recently, she noted, not a single Republican member of Congress voted in favor of the COVID-19 economic relief package known as the American Rescue Plan, and that’s just galling — and aptly summarizes the party’s current commitment to ideological alignment over the needs of the American people.
During an appearance on Full Court Press with host Greta Van Susteren, Duckworth pointedly commented as follows, discussing Republican opposition to potential tax hikes associated with the infrastructure spending proposal:
‘I will tell you that the Republicans… who are balking at this did not balk when President Trump did those tax cuts for the wealthiest corporations and Americans. And so I think we can find our way forward. I do think that protecting those who make $400,000 or less is critically important.’
As Duckworth subsequently put it:
‘There is always give and take, and I’m always willing to negotiate, but I will tell you, I want to have some real negotiations. So often lately, we don’t see the Republicans coming together with a real effort to negotiate, and that’s really been disappointing. And the fact that not a single Republican voted for the American Rescue Plan is really sad to me because how do you vote against sending money for vaccinations? How do you vote against sending money to get our schools open again? And not a single one of them voted for that.’
At present, it’s unclear whether a single Republican in Congress will end up voting for the infrastructure spending proposal when it’s up for a vote, although this unified Republican opposition might not spell the end of the legislation. Much of what’s under consideration could apparently be passed through budget reconciliation, which is a procedural move that allows certain measures to pass the Senate with simple majority support — and Democrats currently have 51 votes in the 100-member chamber when factoring in Vice President Kamala Harris’s role as a tiebreaker.
Key components of the infrastructure spending proposal are foundationally critical. For instance, the Biden administration wants to see the complete elimination of lead pipes, and they’ve also included support for the expansion of broadband internet services in their push.
Expanding broadband could help connect certain rural communities to critical services — according to advocacy group BroadbandNow, a full 14 million Americans lacked “access to any fixed broadband service whatsoever” as of 2017. (The total U.S. population was at around 325 million at the time.) Broadly, the Biden administration’s infrastructure spending proposal is popular — in a recent NBC News survey, 59 percent of respondents said the plan is a “good idea.”