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Biden´s infrastructure plan: what have the Democratic Senators said?

Support within the Democratic caucus in the Senate is divided over Biden’s infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan.

Biden´s infrastructure plan: what have the Democratic Senators said?
CHIP SOMODEVILLA AFP

President Biden introduced the American Jobs Plan in March, and many Democratic lawmakers soon announced their support for the plan. After the White House released an extensive fact sheet on the infrastructure plan, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer threw his support behind the proposal, saying that “Addressing infrastructure, climate, and environmental justice together, and creating millions of good-paying jobs” was the right direction in order to “meet head on the challenges that America now faces.”

Leader Schumer went on to say that all communities, across the rural-urban divide, would benefit and that he looked “forward to working with President Biden to pass a big, bold plan that will drive America forward for decades to come.”

Those on the fence

Joe Machin of West Virginia, seen as one of the most conservative Democratic Senators, has not made his position clear. In late April, after Republicans released a counter-proposal crafted with support from Sen. Machin, he referred to it as “a starting point and not the finishing line.” The majority of Democrats, including the President, quickly rejected the proposal. The West Virginia Democrat has also said he would not support the proposal with the current increases in the corporate tax rate. Under President Trump, the corporate tax rate was lowered to twenty-one percent from thirty-five percent. This is seen as one of the Former President’s crowning achievements of his tenure. The American Jobs Plan would increase the corporate tax rate to twenty-eight percent. Machin has stated that he is willing to approve an increase up to twenty-five percent, but no hire.

As negotiations have soured between Republican leaders and the White House, Machin has “balked” at the idea of passing the bill through budget reconciliation. Kirsten Sinema, Senator of Arizona, has also rejected Democrats passing the massive legislation with no Republican support. Sen. Sinema has established herself as a conservative Democrat and, like Sen. Machin, is withholding her support.

Those in support

In a recent interview with AXIOS, Senator Bernie Sanders disagreed with Mancin’s view. He argued that Democrats should pass the bill through budget reconciliation if they have to compromise the more progressive aspects that made it into the proposal. When asked about the optics of passing another bill with no Republican support -- as they did with the American Rescue Plan -- through Congress, Sanders argued that people don’t really care, saying, "Frankly, when people got a, you know, $1,400 check or $5,600 check for their family, they didn't say, 'Oh, I can't cash this check because it was done without any Republican votes.”

Other Senators who have voiced their support include,

  •  Cory Booker, New Jersey was an early supporting, tweeting his endorsement just after the plan was announced. 
  • Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, who has voiced her support for the Plan, saying that to recover from the pandemic, money had to be spent, “improving daycare, education and other elements of the "care economy."

  •  Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts, who this week affirmed her support of the President’s plan and quickly rejected the Republican counter-proposal saying, “I don't really think this is a serious” counteroffer."