More House Democrats voice concerns about Biden infrastructure plan

A growing number of moderate House Democrats are raising objections to parts of President Biden’s mammoth $2.3 trillion infrastructure package — as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continue to voice their disapproval with raising taxes to pay for the tremendous expense.

“When you’re borrowing money for current consumption versus borrowing money for investment it’s a different thing,” House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) told the Wall Street Journal Monday, noting that he would support a gas and diesel tax increase, as well as more borrowing, to pay for the plan.

Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), however, said he would not support raising the gas tax or upping electric vehicle revenue, arguing they hurt individuals in lower-income brackets.

“Gas taxes are regressive in terms of who pays them, and on the other hand we need to create incentives to move towards [electric vehicles], So I think a miles traveled tax does not give people incentives to get an electric car,” the Michigan lawmaker said.

Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) said he would not support raising the gas tax or upping electric vehicle revenue, arguing they hurt individuals in lower-income brackets.
Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) said he would not support raising the gas tax or upping electric vehicle revenue, arguing they hurt individuals in lower-income brackets.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, said that he and other moderates were “willing to trust Janet Yellen and Jay Powell that we’re not at the brink of a hyperinflation risk, but maybe let’s not go that much farther.”

“Most of us believe at a certain point you do have to pay for what you’re getting,” Beyer continued.

Biden unveiled his bill, the two-part “Build Back Better” proposal, last week.

"When you’re borrowing money for current consumption versus borrowing money for investment it’s a different thing," House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) told the Wall Street Journal on April 5, 2021.
“When you’re borrowing money for current consumption versus borrowing money for investment it’s a different thing,” House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) told the Wall Street Journal on April 5, 2021.
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The legislation, a centerpiece of his post-COVID campaign message, will be split into two packages for Congress to pass.

In order to pay for the package, the federal government would impose a slew of new taxes, the administration revealed alongside the plan.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said he expected Congress to make changes to the plan before it reached the Resolute Desk.

“I think that Congress will offer some suggestions,” the top House Democrat said, “We will accept some of what he is proposing but I also think timing here is a critical issue.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) said he hoped the Biden administration would consider alternatives to raising the corporate tax rate.

“I think on the corporate piece, if it’s a nonstarter for the Republicans and it means we can’t get bipartisanship, I’m eager to hear their other ideas,” he argued, noting the possibility of user fees.

In interviews with Axios last week, Gottheimer and two other House Democrats voiced their own concerns over the astonishing price tags the administration was suggesting.

“We need to be careful not to do anything that’s too big or too much in the middle of a pandemic and an economic crisis,” Gottheimer told the outlet.

“It’s got to be responsible and both parties need to be at the table. This can’t just be jammed through without input and consideration from the other side.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) said he hoped the Biden administration would consider alternatives to raising the corporate tax rate.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) said he hoped the Biden administration would consider alternatives to raising the corporate tax rate.
Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

“I’m not voting for any changes in the tax code unless we reinstate SALT as part of the deal,” Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) said, referencing the State and Local Tax deduction capped under then-President Trump.

Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), meanwhile, said he disagrees with Biden’s push for a 28 percent corporate tax rate, instead backing 25 percent.

“Republicans overshot” the mark when they, under Trump in 2017, cut the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, Peters argued.

“I think that 25 percent is fine. It doesn’t disadvantage our companies, and in turn our employees, workers.”

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