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House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said at a virtual Axios event Friday that raising taxes is "not what infrastructure is about" and that any infrastructure plan he would support would not require tax hikes.

Why it matters: Republicans have criticized President Biden's multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure package as needlessly expensive, arguing it would only hurt Americans in the current economy.

What he's saying: "Look, if there's any hope that we can work together, it would be on infrastructure," Scalise said. "What [Biden] laid out last night or the night before last was not really infrastructure. He's talking about a lot of things that had very little to do with roads and bridges."

  • Raising taxes would make the U.S. less competitive and hurt Americans who are starting to rebound from the pandemic, Scalise said.
  • "That's not something that's good for the country," he added. "So if there's a plan where we can come together on things that actually make sense to build more roads and bridges and broadband and help our infrastructure without raising taxes, that's something I'm very open to."
  • "I think there's a chance for President Biden to fulfill his promise by working with Republicans, but he's yet to do it," Scalise said.

Watch the event.

Go deeper

Updated Apr 30, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on Biden's first 100 days

On Friday, April 30, Axios political reporter Hans Nichols and congressional reporter Alayna Treene hosted a discussion on President Biden's first 100 days in office, featuring Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).

Sen. Hickenlooper unpacked bipartisan policy efforts, economic recovery after COVID-19, and climate change initiatives impacting the state of Colorado.

  • On Biden's American Rescue Plan: "He could not get a bipartisan, collaborative bill for the recovery plan...I think he did what he should have done, which is to put a bill together that would not just win the battle against COVID-19, but get us out of this recession."
  • On what he's hearing from Republican colleagues behind closed doors: "What they're saying publicly is pretty much what I'm hearing privately now. Sometimes they will handicap what the probability is of what they think their caucus will do on a specific issue...But I think they're being candid and honest."

Rep. Scalise discussed the Biden administration's infrastructure bill and tension between House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and third-ranking Republican Rep. Liz Cheney.

  • On an infrastructure bill he would support: "The plans that I've seen that I like and would support would be plans that are fully paid for without new taxes. And what I mean by that is prioritizing existing federal dollars. There are some good plans that do that."
  • On President Trump's role in the Republican party: "President Trump is still a very active part of our party and a vocal leader in our party... So this idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where we are. And frankly, he has a lot to offer still and has offered what he wants to help us win the House back."

Axios Chief Revenue Officer Fabricio Drumond will hosted a View from the Top segment with Bank of America Global Environmental Executive Alex Liftman, who discussed President Biden's policy initiatives around climate change and the role of the private sector in focusing capital in these areas.

  • "[Addressing] big global issues like climate change...has led us to have a trillion-dollar goal over the next 10 years to help our clients to decarbonize...We need to drive a lot of capital to those existing technologies and help sectors, principally high carbon sectors, to implement those technologies."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Biden: Trickle-down economics "has never worked"

Joe Biden addresses a joint session of congress. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

During his joint address to Congress on Wednesday, President Biden spoke of the need to tax the ultra-wealthy to fix economic inequality in the U.S.

Why it matters: Biden wants to use tax hikes on the rich to pay for his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. This philosophy has been a sticking point for many Republicans.

GOP response to Biden address credits Trump on COVID-19 success

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott's (R-S.C.) response to President Biden's joint address to Congress on Wednesday argued that former President Trump deserves credit for the current administration's victories, including on COVID-19.

Why it matters: Biden's joint address was his most significant attempt yet to sell members of Congress on his policy priorities. Scott's response offered no concessions.