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McConnell Wields a Cruelly Narrow Definition of Infrastructure Like a Bludgeon

1 9 0
02.07.2021

Back in late March and early April, as President Biden’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan began to take shape, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear he would oppose the large-scale investments envisioned by the administration.

By the early summer, after months of negotiations between the parties in Congress and with the public pushing for large-scale infrastructure spending, it now seems that there is bipartisan support in Congress for a more limited — though still nearly trillion-dollar — package. This package, if it passes, will shore up investments in basic infrastructure such as roads and bridges, drinking water supplies, electric vehicle charging stations and public transit systems. If President Biden signs it into law, it will, even in its truncated form, be a big deal, generating jobs and improving communities for years to come.

Yet, it should have gone much further. Instead, to get toward any sort of fragile bipartisan consensus, the administration had to drop plans for more ambitious investments, forsaking many of its bolder climate investments. It also jettisoned what the administration had labeled the American Families Plan, in the process ratcheting back ambitions for what looked and sounded like a new War on Poverty, the centerpieces of which were massively expanded federal investments in education, health care access and social programs.

These more ambitious proposals, to be funded by moderate increases in the corporate tax rate –from 21 percent up to 28 percent, essentially reversing a key provision of the 2017 tax law passed by a GOP-led Congress — have now been bundled into a separate package of legislation, which, if it passes, will do so with no GOP support.

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