Mitch McConnell draws a red line at $600 billion for infrastructure and jobs – and says Trump tax cuts are off-limits

McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

  • McConnell said the GOP won’t cut a deal with Biden above $600 billion on a jobs package.
  • He said there would be “zero” Republican support for Biden’s $4 trillion pair of spending packages.
  • Biden has proposed two packages with trillions of spending on physical and social infrastructure.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell drew a $600 billion red line for an infrastructure and jobs plan on Monday, an amount less than a fifth of the $4 trillion in economic spending plans that President Joe Biden has unveiled.

“We’re open to doing a roughly $600 billion package, which deals with what all of us agree is infrastructure and to talk about how to pay for that in any way other than reopening the 2017 tax reform bill,” he said at a press conference at Louisville, Kentucky.

The Senate’s top Republican flatly rejected going above the $600 billion price tag, saying “if it’s going to be about infrastructure, let’s make it about infrastructure.”

“I don’t think there will be any Republican support – none, zero – for the $4.1 trillion grab-bag, which has infrastructure in it but a whole lot of other stuff,” McConnell said. He also ruled out adjusting President Donald Trump’s tax law, a measure Biden wants to roll back to pay for his plans.

“We’re not going to revisit the 2017 tax bill,” he said. “We’re happy to look for traditional infrastructure pay-fors, which means the users participate.”

McConnell’s comments underscore the wide bridge between Republicans and Democrats on their economic priorities. Their ability to cut a deal will depend whether they can agree on methods to finance a package as well as its overall scope. Democrats are calling for aggressive spending while Republicans insist on narrowing a package’s focus.

Biden has rolled out $4 trillion in a pair of economic plans to shore up physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges, as well as manufacturing and broadband. His latest $1.8 trillion plan unveiled Wednesday would establish paid family and medical leave, universal Pre-K, tuition-free community college, and monthly cash payments for parents.

Biden has proposed lifting the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% to cover part of the spending, a step that has strong backing among many Democrats.

A group of Senate Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia unveiled a $568 billion infrastructure plan late last month. Much of that spending would directed towards areas Republicans strongly favor, such as roads and bridges, ports, waterways, and expanded broadband.

Capito and Biden spoke on Thursday in what she described as a “constructive and substantive call” on Twitter.

“We’re working with the White House, and I think it’s been very open-door, we’ve been very encouraged to keep moving forward, and that’s what we’re going to do,” she told Fox News on Sunday. Capito floated user-fees and repurposing unspent stimulus aid provided to state and local governments as a means of paying for the plan.

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