Republicans in Congress are making the politically brazen bet that it’s more advantageous to oppose President Joe Biden’s ambitious agenda to rebuild America than to lend support for the costly $2.3 trillion undertaking for roads, bridges and other infrastructure investments.
Much the way Republicans provided no votes for the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief Bill, they plan to sit on the sidelines for this next big lift by the White House, forcing Democrats to take full ownership of the massive package of spending and corporate tax hikes that Mr. Biden wants approved over the summer. The tension could mount this week as Mr. Biden shows no signs adjusting to satisfy Republican leaders, instead appealing directly to their constituents for support.
“I think the Republicans’ voters are going to have a lot to say about whether we get a lot of this done,” Mr. Biden said.
That leaves Mr. Biden and congressional Republicans on a collision course, the outcome of which could define the parties and his presidency.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell set the defining tone for his party when he flatly declared last week he will fight Mr. Biden’s agenda “every step of the way.”
Recent polling by The Associated Press-NORC Public Research Center found Americans have responded favourably to the President’s approach, with 73% approving of his handling of the pandemic. That includes about half of Republicans.
Senator Roy Blunt, a member of Senate GOP leadership, said on Sunday a smaller package of about $615 billion, or 30% of what Mr. Biden is proposing, could find bipartisan backing from Republicans if the White House found a way to pay for it without raising the corporate tax rate. He pointed to potential user fees on drivers and others.