Senate Republicans brings $928-billion counteroffer to infrastructure negotiations

May 28, 2021
The White House and GOP will continue negotiations next week with a target to have a deal ironed out the week of June 7.

A group of Republican Senators, led by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), outlined their $928-billion counter proposal to President Joe Biden’s original American Jobs Plan proposal.

The GOP counteroffer represents a $360-million increase over its initial proposal, while the White House has reduced it’s original $2.3-trillion plan to $1.7 trillion.

“Senate Republicans continue to negotiate in good faith. We’ve had a lot of good dialogue with the White House,” said Sen. Capito. “We believe that this counteroffer delivers on what President Biden told us in the Oval Office that day and that is to try to reach somewhere near $1 trillion over an eight-year period of time and includes our baseline spending. We have achieved that goal with this counteroffer.”

The counteroffer includes the following:

  • $506 billion for roads, bridges and major projects; this amount includes
    •  $4 billion for electric vehicles infrastructure
    •  $800 million to reconnect communities
    •  $14 billion for resiliency work
  • $98 billion for public transit systems
  • $46 billion for passenger and freight rail
  • $21 billion for safety
  • $22 billion for ports and waterways
  • $56 billion for airports
  • $22 billion for western water storage
  • $72 billion for water infrastructure
  • $65 billion for broadband infrastructure
  • $20 billion for infrastructure financing

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said, “Our proposal includes real numbers that address what members on both sides of the aisle would agree is infrastructure. This is a good faith proposal that avoids hiking taxes on job creators and small businesses.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained the administration was grateful for the work of Sen. Capito and her colleagues. Psaki noted President Biden was expecting more information on the counteroffer and plans to follow-up with the senator once additional details had been shared.

“At first review, we note several constructive additions to the group’s previous proposals, including on roads, bridges and rail. At the same time, we remain concerned that their plan still provides no substantial new funds for critical job-creating needs, such as fixing our veterans’ hospitals, building modern rail systems, repairing our transit systems, removing dangerous lead pipes and powering America’s leadership in a job-creating clean energy economy, among other things,” said Psaki. “Lastly, we are concerned that the proposal on how to pay for the plan remains unclear. We are worried that major cuts in COVID relief funds could imperil pending aid to small businesses, restaurants and rural hospitals using this money to get back on their feet after the crush of the pandemic.”

Psaki said the administration would work with members of the House and Senate next week “so that there is a clear direction on how to advance much needed jobs legislation when Congress resumes legislative business during the week of June 7.”

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) released a statement on the counteroffer expressing its gratitude for the efforts, but the proposal left association leaders “deeply disappointed.”

“The Republican Roadmap proposes to cut current public transit investment by more than $15 billion over the eight-year period, when we should be making robust investment. It will only leave the country further behind in the decade to come—on restoring our economy; on providing transportation equity; and on addressing the existential threat of climate change. We also strongly oppose any efforts to rescind COVID-19 relief transit funding to pay for this proposal,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.

He continued, “We strongly urge the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress to significantly increase forward-looking infrastructure investment that modernizes public transit and passenger rail systems and meets the growing and evolving mobility demands of communities.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.