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McConnell ups acceptable price tag for infrastructure package

Biden promotes infrastructure in Lousiana
Biden promotes infrastructure in Lousiana 11:08

Washington — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday suggested the cost of an infrastructure package he is willing to accept is between $600 and $800 billion, a price range that is higher than a counterproposal to President Biden's sweeping plan put forth by fellow Senate Republicans.

In an interview with Kentucky Educational Television that aired Sunday, McConnell reiterated Republicans' opposition to size and scope of the $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan pitched by Mr. Biden, and said any measure must focus on "traditional" infrastructure — roads, bridges, ports, broadband — in order to gain GOP support.

"The proper price tag for what most of us think of as infrastructure is about six to 800 billion dollars," McConnell said. 

The Kentucky senator's suggested $600 billion to $800 billion price tag for an infrastructure plan is more than the $568 billion cost of a package rolled out by a group of Republican senators last month as a counteroffer to Mr. Biden, and a higher range than the $600 billion ceiling he suggested last week.

The framework spearheaded by GOP Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia includes $299 billion for roads and bridges, $65 billion to expand broadband, $61 billion for public transit systems and $20 billion for railroads, as well as funding to give the nation's ports, waterways and airports facelifts. 

McConnell will join other congressional leaders — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — for a meeting with Mr. Biden at the White House on Wednesday, where they're likely to discuss the president's infrastructure and families plans

The president has said he is willing to negotiate on his infrastructure package, and he will hold a second gathering Thursday with Capito and other Republican senators to discuss a plan.

Still, Republicans are adamant that any measure must be targeted to addressing traditional infrastructure and disagree with Mr. Biden's suggested method of paying for his $2.3 trillion proposal — by raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and increasing the global minimum tax on U.S. multinational corporations to 21%. 

McConnell told Kentucky Educational Television that the president's plan is a "bait-and-switch, call it infrastructure, but much bigger with a whole laundry list of other things." He also said all Senate Republicans would oppose any plan that is paid for by rolling back the tax cuts implemented in the GOP's 2017 tax reform legislation.

"The way to pay for infrastructure is through the gas tax that already exists, and the gap between that and what we're willing to spend here needs to be credibly paid for, and the best way to pay for infrastructure is with the people who use it," he said.

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