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Republicans unveil $568B infrastructure package

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Republicans unveil $568B infrastructure package
The bulk of Republicans' infrastructure proposal -- $299 billion -- would go toward roads and bridges. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

April 22 (UPI) -- Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a $568 billion infrastructure package that, at about a quarter of the price of President Joe Biden's proposal, seeks to narrow what is defined as infrastructure.

The proposal focuses on roads and bridges, public transportation, railways, drinking water, wastewater, safety, waterways, airports, water storage, and broadband Internet, and steers clear of Democrats' wishlist items such as affordable housing, and care for the elderly and disabled.

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Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who backs the limited package, said Biden's proposal goes beyond what's considered infrastructure.

"Today, we set a clear path forward on core principles that DEFINE infrastructure & address our country's needs," she tweeted. "This framework continues our conversations w/Democrat colleagues & the administration."

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The Republican proposal would cost $568 billion over five years, the bulk of which -- $299 billion -- would go toward the Federal Highway Administration for roads and bridges. The Federal Transit Administration would receive $61 billion for public transit; rail would receive $20 billion; the Environmental Protection Agency would get $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater; $13 billion would go toward safety; $17 billion for ports and inland waterways; $44 billion to the Federal Aviation Administration for airports; and $65 billion for broadband infrastructure.

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Republicans are prioritizing a plan that would avoid increasing the federal debt and would preserve the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act -- notably not increasing the corporate tax.

The Biden administration, meanwhile, has proposed raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to pay for its $2.2 trillion infrastructure package. The White House said the tax hike would fund the infrastructure plan within 15 years and would be combined with plans to discourage firms from listing tax havens as their address and offshoring profits.

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Biden, however, indicated the 28% tax rate isn't a hard figure and he's willing to compromise to win approval for his overall infrastructure plan.

"As I indicated earlier, I am prepared to compromise, prepared to do what we can get together on," he said earlier this month. "It's a big package, but there are a lot of needs."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell also called for negotiations on a package.

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"Americans need and deserve bipartisan infrastructure solutions. I hope Democrats will come to the table and work with us on a bipartisan path forward to strengthen our homeland," he tweeted Thursday.

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