Biden’s big infrastructure plan hits McConnell, GOP blockade

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in Congress are making the politically brazen bet that it’s more advantageous to oppose United States (US) President Joe Biden’s ambitious rebuild America agenda than to lend support for the costly USD2.3 trillion undertaking for roads, bridges and other infrastructure investments.

Much the way Republicans provided no votes for the USD1.9 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 Biden wants approved over the summer. The tension could mount this week as 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,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

That leaves Biden and congressional Republicans on a collision course, the outcome of which could define the parties and his presidency. The GOP strategy is reminiscent of the Obama-era blockade that helped sour voters on the Democratic president more than a decade ago. Then and now Republicans are intent on saddling Democrats with responsibility for all the taxes and spending to come, much as they did the 2009 rescue after the economic crisis, framing it as government overreach that piles on debt.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell set the defining tone for his party when he flatly declared last week he will fight Biden’s agenda “every step of the way”.

Bridges spanning the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh. PHOTO: AP