tv Senate Republicans Announce Infrastructure Plan CSPAN April 22, 2021 8:00pm-8:25pm EDT
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administration $2 trillion proposal. this new cons -- this news conference is about 25 minutes. >> good afternoon. he will be joining us shortly he is going down to vote and i'm very excited that my colleagues are here with me today to talk about something that is on a lot of people's minds in terms of our aging infrastructure, our infrastructure roads and bridges , and other things that we see in our home state that need help. our focus today is to say what our concepts are as republicans as to what infrastructure means, what our principles are, and say
to president biden and his team and our democratic colleagues that we are ready to sit down and get to work on this. that is probably the biggest message we want to put forward today is that this is important to us so let us define infrastructure. our definition of infrastructure and we talked a lot about this, what do people think of in our state when they think of infrastructure? roads and bridges, rail, water, and wastewater. i will stop there for a minute to say that the first part of this infrastructure package could come up in front of the entire senate next week with the epw bill.
every republican, every democrat voted for it. airports, broadband is the infrastructure that if you ask this question 10 years ago you would not have thought to do it or if you had we would have been very futuristic and see what the needs would be but broadband is an essential package. water storage and safety. it is important for all of you to realized that this is the largest infrastructure investment that republicans have come forward with. this is a robust package when we look at where we our -- are focusing our infrastructure needs. they are meant to guide us and then we would say and i would say now is the time for the committees to get to work and that is why i think it is important to note that the folks that are here with me today are the ranking members of the
relevant committees that would be moving forward a robust infrastructure package. i've done a lot of outreach to my fellow republicans, i've talked to democrats, and i have talked with the white house. we have going to talk directly with the president but we have certainly been talking about how important this is for the 21st century that is forward-looking infrastructure. we agree that these bills are necessary in the committees of jurisdiction should be the ones forced to compromise. we need to make sure that we are meeting this challenge so for that to happen, i think also as i have lined out what infrastructure is, you can see the amount of dedicated funds that have a total of $568 billion. a great way for us to express --
we also have concepts of principles on how to pay for this. some of my colleagues will talk about this but i think it is important that you know that some of the ideas we have and this would be fully paid for and that is critical. we need to cover the cost of infrastructure to avoid increasing the debt. we need to shore up any infrastructure related trust funds and that does not mean raising the gas tax, that means looking at users of our infrastructure to this point, i have not or paid very little in terms of the wear and tear that they have moved forward on our roads and highways. we have also heard a lot of talk
about other things. no commitment there at all, we are basically just letting out our principles. another principle we think is important is to repurpose dollars that have already been appropriated. there are two specific ways. that is to repurpose some of the unsent dollars from covid that are no longer considered emergency that could help us devote to infrastructure. i had an amendment to that effect when we did the covid bell to repurpose a lot of these dollars to infrastructure where it is mostly needed. the other way would be to say to city, counties, is and states to make batches and pay for infrastructure. the other thing is to preserve
the tax cuts and jobs act and that would mean retaining the deduction another great economy building aspects. that is the parameters of where we are and the other thing i would like to add is one of the lights to this dual is permitting. our permits are too long and too costly and too complicated and they end up not just costing time and money, a lot of people walk away from projects and we are really going to modernize and make sure that we are moving in a direction that republicans and democrats want to move. i will ask senator to come on up. >> thank you to the senators. it has been great to work with all three of these senators on this good-faith effort and this
serious effort to get negotiations started with president biden and our democratic colleagues in the house and senate. i was fortunate enough to be in the monday meeting in the white house with the president and vice president some two days ago , there were other republicans who met in the oval office on monday of this week. today, after talking to many of our colleagues, and particularly the three people behind me, i'm pleased to come forth after meeting with the president with an offer that really should address what most americans think of as infrastructure. as she said, what is infrastructure? it is roads and bridges, it is airports, and certainly we are all a that broadband is part of
it, so we take part of the president's plan that most americans agree israel hard infrastructure, we give it our touch -- is real hard infrastructure, we give it our touch. congress is accustomed to working on infrastructure in a bipartisan way. the four committees that we represent here have time and again over the decade and in past years worked on infrastructure on a bipartisan way and as she said, the legislation that is pending in the next week or two with regard to some of this infrastructure. it would be the fast act. things that we have done with consensus over the years and we think we can do again. this is a big proposal.
one dollar billion is a lot of money. $1 billion is a lot of money. the economy was getting towards a depression. we talk in terms of trillions but let us not forget that $1 billion is in miss a lot of money and $568 billion is a very generous offer in dealing with infrastructure and it will get us a long way to where we want to go in a five-year plan. i disappointed -- i am disappointed but not surprised that some colleagues have rejected this before seeing it. we help he and his team are looking at it and we think a number of our democratic colleagues are going to negotiate with this. we are ready to put our staff together this weekend here in the senate and also with the
white house. let me say one thing about broadband. the five dollars billion -- the $65 billion -- $16 billion went for the pause that we expected and that gives us $65 billion. if you take $65 billion, it is already been passed and gets us very close to the president's $100 billion and i think that is a most generous figure that we will have a hard time spending but we can spend it to get the maps right. we can do that next five years.
>> let me start thinking for the senator. i think this is a very constructive proposal and as you can see, it consists of real infrastructure. what all of these categories have in common are the fact that they are consistent and the platforms that we share for the purpose of moving people and goods and services out our economy. that is what the american people and understand infrastructure to be about. this is a very large increase in congresses traditional involvement in these areas. while president biden would like to do all kinds of things that have nothing to do with infrastructure, my view is we can have that discussion at some point in time but what we should focus on is what we seem to have agreement on which is a significant investment in
infrastructure. i think it is equally important that we think of how we pay for this. i think there's an idea that unites republicans and many democrats, let us do that -- do something that does not take on too much debt. my view is that we should do it without damaging the tax reform that gave us the best economy of my lifetime. it was just a year ago that we literally had the strongest economy of our lifetimes. we had record low unemployment rate, we hadn't rising wages, we had more job openings and more people, we were narrowing the income gap, the wealth gap at the same time we were creating tremendous opportunities.
you do not get back thereby ruining the tax reform that helped us get there so that is what we should not do. the senator touched on some ways we can pay for this. one of the ways we can do that in some cases, it is reasonable to ask people to contribute towards it. user mechanisms make a lot of sense as a component but there is also literally hundreds of billions of dollars that have been approved but it is unspent. it is unrelated to covid. some of that money can be repurposed and thirdly, i would suggest that our states and local government, we did not expect this by the end, at was an all-time record year for revenue collected by states and local governments. we sent them hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars. we asked them to -- their fair
share. many of them are quite willing to do so. thank you. >> i want to think that three senators i enjoyed with today. with their leadership, we work together previously on infrastructure. roger being an active member of that community and we worked on all of these things. you did the transportation component of the subcommittee of the environment public works committee, focus on what we truly believe to be infrastructure so president biden may define infrastructure differently. i think you should be honest with the american people and talk about it and the weight that people see it. what is infrastructure? the fact that the biden proposal has less than 6% of the body for
the roads and bridges says that his focus is not on the kind of infrastructure that the american people think of. if the president wants to have a debate on free lunch rooms in our schools -- green lunch in our schools and environmental justice and climate justice, we can have that debate but what we ought to do is that we are focusing on the needs of the american people. people it's more -- he puts more money and electric bugles that he does for roads, bridges, airports combined. with the american people are asking for and that is why we are here today with this proposal. the last congress we came up with a bipartisan bill in the committee. it passed the committee 20 12 nothing and it was the highway bill.
passed unanimously. there are ways to do this in a bipartisan way and i would suggest that that template that we did less congress got 21 out of 21 votes -- last congress. bernie sanders and every democrat and when you take a look at that, there was a climate title included, there were things that allowed us to build from the standpoint of regulations, to build things faster and better and cheaper and smarter and i think all of those things are critically important so americans get -- so americans can get the infrastructure that they need. >> i would like to lead it to a couple questions. this is a serious attempt to
offer a robust plan that we put forward ever as republicans and i think that the american people want to cs working together. we hear this all the time but this is a real opportunity because of the past history we have of working through the five committees that are listed at the bottom of that sheet. you can see all of the different committees that way in here. i will be talking to him at 1:00 but we have talked before. i think that we see this as an offer that is on the table and deserves a response and i think we will get a response and we look forward to gas and we are ready to get to work. thank you.
>> [indiscernible] what led to that? >> i think we are getting very close on the lower range. when we started putting pencil to paper, we came up with a more definitive figure of where we thought was a good starting point and that is where we are. we will go from here and negotiations, things are always give-and-take but i think this is close to the 600 and we look forward to a response. >> key component of the biden proposal. [indiscernible] second part, i do not see either of those [indiscernible] >> in terms of electric
vehicles, i did not say they are not part of this plan. if you look at the highway plan, that we passed a year and a half ago, which we are using as a framework, there is electric vehicle charging infrastructure that we had agreed upon previously. this is not prescriptive as to what everything is in this. it does not mean, i am thinking of that as a traditional highway bill, we see the future, we may see it differently that president biden in terms of hundred $60 billion incentive to electric vehicle. that is not what is it here. it could be part of a bipartisan bill. i would not say that that is exclusive of this and i think we fully expect and i've not run this by my folks up here, i
fully expect that climate will be part of the discussion. they have made that very clear and we have talked in our committees, certainly the water bill and other bills, with that is a concern for everyone. that is interesting. we had some discussion and growth and pipeline since the beginning. when we get into the negotiations, that is a major area. that is something we would all certainly entertain. one more question.
>> how much is this is new money and repurchasing in the usual -- >> these figures are what you
would consider regular appropriations plus sodas
baseline plus. i will have to get back to you on the exact figure. there's some confusion when you look at the president's plan and the plan that i saw. when you hear that hundred 50 -- hundred $15 billion. . >> you're are talking about repurchasing covid buddy. -- money. -- repurchasing covid buddy. some of that money was unnecessary and it was not paid for it so how do you square that now, repurchasing money? sen. toomey: we incurred the
debt to incur those obligations but we think that they could be put to better uses. money that has nothing to do with the covid or economic response so we think that that should be available. >> the other thing i would say on the covid dollars when it goes to state and local, we did darrow what state and local could pay for -- narrow what stoke -- narrow what state and local could pay for. exclusive of that, our roads and bridges projects so if our communities and states can get together and decide that that is a high priority for them, we are saying we ought to be able to do that. thank you all very much. thanks.
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