While no breakthrough seems imminent, infrastructure talks between President Biden and Senate Republicans continue as they try to reach an agreement on significant federal investment in the nation’s infrastructure.
While Biden rejected Republicans’ proposal to add an additional $50 billion to their $928 billion counterproposal on infrastructure spending, according to a report last week from the Washington Post, the President outlined “a plan for about $1 trillion in new spending” while taking his proposed corporate tax rate increase from 21 to 28 percent off the table if it would result in an agreement with Republicans. Publicly though, the president has only agreed to reduce his initial $2.23 trillion proposal to $1.7 trillion. According to the report, Biden has also proposed an alternative tax plan that would amount to a new minimum corporate tax of 15 percent. President Biden will meet again today with top GOP negotiator Sen. Shelley Moore-Capito (R-W.Va.)
House Democrats are also moving forward with their partisan infrastructure package that would provide $547 billion in funding for infrastructure over five years, that would also impose labor and workforce requirements that ABC has previously opposed. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will be marking up the bill on Wednesday.
While the Democrats have the ability to overcome Republican opposition by using the budget reconciliation process, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has said that he would not support passing the infrastructure package through budget reconciliation and called the notion of proceeding on a major piece of legislation without GOP support “a disaster waiting to happen.”
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The construction industry shut down for a few months last year during the pandemic — but was quickly deemed essential, allowing paused projects to continue. But in that short time, the sector lost more than 1 million workers. The industry has recouped nearly 80% of its workforce since then, but is still down 238,000 workers from pre-pandemic levels as of June, according to the Labor Department.
The Biden administration released an executive order last Friday on promoting competition in the American economy that continues the president’s efforts to push for passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.