Sen. Roy Blunt: GOP Would Support $615B in Actual Infrastructure Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) asks questions during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing to discuss the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol on March 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty)
By Eric Mack | Sunday, 04 April 2021 03:36 PM
The Biden administration is making a "big mistake" in loading up a $2.25 trillion infrastructure package with things that do not pertain to roads, bridges, airports, or technology, says Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who rebuked the legislation as a "purely partisan exercise."
"I think there's an easy win here for the White House if they would take that win, which is make this an infrastructure package, which is about 30% – even if you stretch the definition of infrastructure some – it's about 30% of the $2.25 trillion we are talking about spending," Blunt said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."
Blunt noted about 30% of the proposal would be roughly $615 billion for roads, bridges, airports, transportation, services, and even things Democrats could loosely call infrastructure.
Instead, Blunt lamented, Democrats are pushing a massive spending package that includes a lot more non-infrastructure spending much like they did with the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, the American Rescue Plan.
Democrats are "trying to take 70 percent of this bill and call it infrastructure in a new way than we've ever talked about infrastructure before," Blunt said. "That means you're looking at another partisan package just like we had with COVID."
Democrats are clever about sneaking spending measures under the umbrellas of popular spending bills like COVID-19.
"Obviously, Democrats have figured out that infrastructure is something we need and something that's popular," Blunt said, pointing to public-private partnerships in paying for infrastructure programs and perhaps user-fee related taxes like gas tax or road fares.
"Whatever it would be, it would be a true bipartisan discussion as opposed to asking every Republican in the Senate who was there in 2017 to change their mind on a tax package that frankly, that had a lot to do with 3.5% unemployment rate we had a year ago when COVID started," Blunt said. "I think people have always accepted the user-tax concept of the transportation system."
As for the Democrats seeking to tax corporations at a 28% rate instead of the Trump tax reform rate of 21%, Blunt suggested that the tax cut paid for itself with economic growth, corporate repatriation, and greater American growth domestic product.
Taking the U.S. back to 28% would make it the second-highest tax rate in the world, he said.
"Other countries saw the success we were having and many reduced their corporate tax rate to try to keep their jobs at home," he concluded.