- Mitch McConnell is against President Joe Biden’s proposed $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure bill.
- McConnell does not change his views on tax fighting, even if it threatens funding for a new Spence Bridge.
- The bridge that connects Ohio and Kentucky is a major thoroughfare in the United States.
- You can find more articles on Insider’s business page.
The Brent Spence Bridge, which connects Cincinnati and northern Kentucky, has become a focal point in the national debate over President Joe Biden’s proposed $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure bill.
For GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the fate of the nearly 58-year-old double-decker truss bridge over the Ohio is a local problem as it serves as a vital transportation link to his home state.
Repairing or completely replacing the bridge would have a significant economic impact in the US, as the artery carries an estimated 3% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) each year, according to the New York Times.
In the past, McConnell has described the bridge as “obsolete and inadequate” and “an unacceptable burden on the local economy” as it is the site of frequent accidents that can confuse traffic for miles.
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McConnell, however, does not believe that the repair of the bridge should be funded by increasing corporate taxes, a key element of Biden’s proposal and a reversal of former President Donald Trump, who cut the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% through the 2017 law about cuts and jobs.
Biden intends to fund his proposed infrastructure bill by setting the corporate tax rate between 25% and 28%, which would likely attract some moderate Senate Democrats unwilling to sign up to the higher tax rate.
McConnell has drawn a red line, however, by rejecting any corporate tax hike and pushing for a smaller infrastructure plan that Senate Republicans could support.
“We’re open to a roughly $ 600 billion package that looks at what we all agree to as infrastructure and how we can pay for that other than by reopening the 2017 Tax Reform Act,” he said on Monday.
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McConnell’s stance shows that, despite the potential funding of the Spence Bridge project, the gulf between Republicans and Democrats is so great that anti-tax sentiment could hamper progress towards a long-term solution.
“I can’t imagine that there would be no money for the Brent Spence Bridge anywhere on a billion-dollar bill,” he said last month. “Is this part of an overall package that I could support? I could tell you if there will likely be massive tax hikes and trillions more government debt.”
The Brent Spence Bridge connects Cincinnati, Ohio and northern Kentucky.
JEFF DEAN / AFP via Getty Images
McConnell leads a caucus where the anti-tax sentiment is deep
Under the bill proposed by Biden, transportation infrastructure, which includes upgrading roads, bridges and highways, would receive a $ 621 billion investment.
According to Spectrum News, proposals to impose tolls on the bridge, which could be a potential source of funding, have met opposition from many northern Kentucky residents.
Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, a Republican, told the Times that McConnell was “like a wishbone pulled on both sides.”
“He would like to invest in Kentucky, not just because of its heritage but because he believes in it,” he said. “On the flip side, he’s the Republican leader of a caucus who doesn’t want to work with Biden, doesn’t want to spend money, doesn’t want to collect corporate taxes, and is more willing to vote no than figure out how to get this thing working. “
A proposal that has been around for several years would allocate $ 2.6 billion for a newer and larger span alongside the existing Spence Bridge, according to The Times.
The problem has bothered politicians from both parties for years – former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump both tried unsuccessfully to repair the bridge.
Biden will meet with several Republican senators at the White House next week to discuss the infrastructure that will mark a turning point in the democratic strategy for the implementation of the law by Congress.
Democrats could try walking the bill through the budget balancing process, which would only require a simple majority instead of the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid filibuster.
If Biden’s larger infrastructure bill is passed largely intact, Ohio and Kentucky could potentially get federal funding for the project without GOP votes.
Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown told The Times that the next few weeks would be a “test” for Republicans in Congress who want a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
“I hope you decide you want to work with us,” he said. “We’re not going to let Mitch McConnell or any other Republican definition of partisanship get in the way of anything big.”