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Politics Biden called McConnell about $2 trillion infrastructure plan after weeks of silence

23:20  31 march  2021
23:20  31 march  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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President Joe Biden called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday to detail his infrastructure plan, the Kentucky Republican told supporters, a week after charging that the two had not spoken since Biden took office.

Joe Biden et al. standing next to a man in a suit and tie © Provided by Washington Examiner

"He called me about it yesterday," McConnell said Wednesday of the more than $2.2 trillion package, which includes spending to rebuild the country's transportation, industrial and modern infrastructures, among other investments.

Speaking at an event in Kentucky, McConnell likened the bill to a "Trojan horse" and suggested he was unlikely to support it.

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"This is not going to be apparently an infrastructure package. It's like a Trojan horse. So it's called infrastructure, but inside the Trojan horse is going to be more borrowed money and massive tax increases," he said.

Biden is proposing to finance the bill, the first installment in his "Build Back Better" agenda, with an increase to the corporate tax rate to 28% and a minimum global tax. The Trump administration's 2017 tax law slashed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.

McConnell said on Wednesday that he is "not likely" to back a final bill that includes a tax hike or deficit spending, regardless of whether it boosts infrastructure projects and jobs in Kentucky.

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Biden's plan includes "not only significantly more borrowing but raising taxes on the most productive parts of our economy," McConnell said, adding lawmakers are not in a "very bipartisan period."

The White House has begun some outreach to Republicans in a bid to draw bipartisan support, declined to detail a legislative strategy for the bill, which would need 10 Republican votes in the Senate to pass by regular legislative means.

Biden officials attempted this with the $1.9 trillion coronavirus package before passing the bill using reconciliation, a budget tool that allows some legislation to bypass the usual 60-vote threshold.

Democrats have conceded that a final bipartisan infrastructure bill remains unlikely.

"This is not just about infrastructure, but it's about creating more jobs and more industrial strength here in the United States," a senior administration official said of the bill on Tuesday.

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McConnell and Biden have long maintained a strong relationship in the Senate, but it under strain at Democrats press for changes to the filibuster, to which McConnell has vowed a “scorched earth” response if Democrats fully eliminate it.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki this month disputed McConnell's claim Biden had not spoken to him since the inauguration.

Psaki told reporters that Biden had a "long friendship" with the Kentucky senator and that the two speak "regularly."

"We're obviously not going to read out all of those calls," she said.

McConnell had suggested hours earlier that this was not the case while speaking to Fox News.

"I don't believe I have spoken with him since he was sworn in," McConnell said at the time. "We had a couple of conversations before then."

After the interview, McConnell's office admitted that he had misspoken and that the two had spoken but not about either official's legislative goals.

In the last weeks of the Obama administration, McConnell praised his working relationship with Biden in remarks on the Senate floor.

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“He doesn’t waste time telling me why I am wrong. He gets down to brass tacks, and he keeps in sight the stakes. There’s a reason ‘Get Joe on the phone’ is shorthand for ‘Time to get serious’ in my office,” McConnell said at the time.

In a subsequent interview with Louisville Courier-Journal writer Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist and former McConnell aide, the GOP leader described his “friendship” Biden and said he was the only Senate Republican to attend the funeral of Biden's son Beau.

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Biden is set to introduce his jobs and infrastructure package Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Tags: News, White House, Biden Administration, Joe Biden, Infrastructure, Mitch McConnell, Kentucky, Senate

Original Author: Katherine Doyle

Original Location: Biden called McConnell about $2 trillion infrastructure plan after weeks of silence

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usr: 1
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