In response to President Joe Biden’s massive $2 trillion American Jobs Plan proposal, U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty said Monday he supports expansion of “real” infrastructure projects like roads, bridges and broadband.
During a visit to Vulcan Materials rock quarry in West Nashville on Monday afternoon, Hagerty signaled optimism that Congress could make bipartisan progress negotiating a scaled-back infrastructure deal centered on what he called “hard infrastructure” needs.
“In Washington, we’ve been talking about a major infrastructure bill,” Hagerty told a group of Vulcan employees. “What I want to see is the type of infrastructure that we’re looking at today, that’s building roads, highways.”
Hagerty said that now, Republicans don’t support Biden’s proposal because it’s “too large, and too unfocused.”
About 5% of Biden’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan Act would fund road and bridge projects. Investments in airports, ports, waterways, the electric power grid and broadband services make up an additional 32% of the total funding. According to the White House, that funding would modernize 20,000 miles of highways and roads, repair 10,000 bridges across the country.
The majority of the spending included in the package goes toward initiatives that are not traditionally considered infrastructure. Biden’s plan includes $25 billion for new child care facilities and upgrades, $400 billion to expand access to home-based care for elderly and disabled, and $5 billion over eight years for community violence prevention programs.
Hagerty said while there’s a chance at building bipartisan support for infrastructure projects, other items “that have literally nothing to do with infrastructure whatsoever” should not be included in the final bill.
“I think if we’re going to be debating education programs and those sort of social programs, we should be doing that in a different bill. We shouldn’t be trying to stick it into an infrastructure bill they’re going to try to pass in reconciliation,” Hagerty said.
To pay for the infrastructure package, the White House has proposed raising the corporate tax rate from the current 21% — cut from 35% in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — to 28%. That’s a move Hagerty says he cannot support.
“I would be in favor of lowering the corporate tax rate further because that’s going to stimulate more economic activity,” Hagerty told reporters Monday. “The corporate tax rate that’s being proposed by the Biden administration would make the American economy the least competitive economy in the world — that’s taking us backwards not forwards.”
Hagerty’s counterpart, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, has shared similar criticisms of Biden’s proposal.