© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds hearing on Regan nomination to be EPA administrator on Capitol Hill in Washington
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republicans could produce their own “conceptual” counter-proposal to President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan by the end of the week, a lawmaker who is helping to lead the effort said on Tuesday.
After discussing infrastructure with the White House, Senator Shelley Moore Capito told reporters that the Republican plan would include projects and means to pay for them and offer a contrast to a sweeping Biden proposal that Republicans oppose because of its size and proposed corporate tax hike.
“We need to settle on a conceptual sort of idea, and hopefully we’ll do that in the next several days,” the West Virginia Republican said. “Hopefully, by the end of the week.”
Capito, top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, offered no details about her White House discussion.
Biden has proposed an infrastructure plan that includes projects on roads, bridges and ports as well as addressing broadband access, climate change and human services including elder care. He would pay for the plan by raising the U.S. corporate income tax rate to 28% from 21%.
The president and his staff have held multiple discussions with bipartisan groups of lawmakers, including Capito, in hopes of winning Republican support and asked Republicans on Monday to produce a counter-proposal by mid-May.
Republicans favor a smaller, narrower bill that includes traditional infrastructure projects plus broadband and would pay for the measure with user fees and possibly tax incentives. Capito said last week that there could be bipartisan support for a Republican bill ranging from $600 billion to $800 billion.
“The fact that he’s asking for something by mid-May is a good signal that he’s ready to start to engage,” Capito said.
Biden could need Republican support to move legislation though the Senate and House of Representatives, where Democrats hold slim majorities.
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