Portman: GOP ‘Ready to Go’ on Jobs Plan, Not Tax Raises

Portman: GOP 'Ready to Go' on Jobs Plan, Not Tax Raises rob portman sits and speaks in a paneled room Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks during a Senate Finance Committee hearing in 2021. (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

Sunday, 02 May 2021 10:32 AM

Sen Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on Sunday said Republicans are “ready to go” on President Joe Biden’s jobs plan — but not on tax raises.

In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Portman declared the GOP wants “to roll up our sleeves and get to work and make America's economy more competitive, not by raising taxes, but by expanding infrastructure.”

“Higher taxes… [don’t] make our economy more competitive,” he said, adding Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is “wrong on that.”

“The Congressional Budget Office says 70% of the tax cuts went into workers' pockets with higher wages and benefits,” he said. “The exact same thing is going to happen if you raise the taxes. They're talking about raising the taxes five times higher than the taxes were cut in 2017. This makes America not competitive around the world.”

Portman said he convinced “there’s a way to get a deal here” on Biden’s jobs proposal.

“If the White House is going to work with us, this is a deal we can do. Infrastructure has always been bipartisan,” he said.

“It's a different sort of a proposition than some of the spending that Secretary Yellen talked about, the $6 trillion in new spending. Only about 20% of the jobs bill that the president has proposed goes to real infrastructure. That part of it can be paid for — it can be paid for with user fees, paid for with some of the COVID money that's already gone out. States would love to use it for infrastructure. It can be paid for in different ways as we have in the past… like public-private partnerships, but also infrastructure bank.”

“It's very possible we get a deal here, if they're willing to do it,” he said of Democrats.

Portman said his decision to not seek another term was “in large measure, a personal one” — and plays a part in his fight for bipartisanship in negotiations to settle on an infrastructure plan.

“I've been doing this off and on for 30 years, working in four administrations, in Congress in both the House and and the Senate,” he said. “I’m going to stay involved. For the next couple years, I'll be very engaged in trying to make sure on a bipartisan bases we get things done for the American people and not continue the partisan fights, but figure out how to find that common ground. I think we can. Infrastructure is a great example.”

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