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Sens. John Barasso and Shelley Moore Capito. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans formally rolled out the framework for their $568 billion counterproposal to President Biden's $2.5 trillion infrastructure plan on Thursday.

Why it matters: The package is far narrower than anything congressional Democrats or the White House would agree to, but it serves as a marker for what Republicans want out of a potential bipartisan deal.

Between the lines: Biden insists he wants his "American Jobs Plan" to pass with bipartisan votes and go through regular order in the Senate, meaning it would need at least 10 GOP senators to sign on.

  • The administration has invited a number of Republican lawmakers to the White House over the past several weeks in a sign of sincerity of Biden's pledge.
  • But even without Republican support, Biden and the Democratic-controlled Senate could opt to pass the bill via the budget reconciliation process, which would only require a simple majority vote. Having this tool at their disposal has made many Republicans wary of whether Biden will stay committed to his pledge of reaching across the aisle.
  • So a group of Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, crafted a scaled-down infrastructure plan that they argue could pass with bipartisan support.
  • Other Senate co-sponsors include Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).

What they're saying: "A billion dollars is a lot of money," Wicker said at a press conference unveiling the framework. "$568 billion is a very, very generous offer in dealing with infrastructure."

Details: The Republicans' package focuses on the elements in the first part of Biden's Build Back Better agenda — building up America's roads, bridges, airports and ports, or what the GOP calls "traditional" infrastructure.

  • It also includes provisions on expanded broadband, particularly in rural areas, and building up water infrastructure.
  • The GOP framework calls for the government to fully cover the cost of the bill "to avoid increasing the debt."
  • Republican senators argue the bill should repurpose some of the $350 billion sent out to state and local governments in the "American Rescue Plan," as well as encourage private sector investment to help pay for the package.

What's absent: The parts of Biden's bill that Republicans largely consider a "progressive wishlist" — including provisions meant to tackle climate change and promote racial equality.

  • The bill insists on preserving former President Trump's "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," rather than passing Biden's plan to raise taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year.
  • That includes preserving the 21% corporate tax rate, which Biden has proposed raising to 28% to help pay for the bill, and demanding the cap on the state and local tax deduction (SALT) remain unchanged.

By the numbers:

  • $299B for roads and bridges
  • $61B for public transit
  • $65B for broadband infrastructure
  • $44B for airports
  • $35B for drinking water and wastewater
  • $20B for rail systems
  • $13B for safety
  • $17B ports and inland waters
  • $14B for water storage

Go deeper: Read the GOP framework.

Go deeper

Jul 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Infrastructure cap will force fuzzy math

President Biden answers reporters' questions after a speech Thursday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (D-Ariz.) warning that she’s opposed to a budget reconciliation bill costing $3.5 trillion will force Senate Democrats and the White House to either trim the proposals in it or tinker with how many years they'll run.

Why it matters: Such gamesmanship will be necessary if lawmakers and the Biden administration want to keep the support of progressives and centrists. But it will lead to a bill with costs and durations as uneven as the Manhattan skyline.

Mitch’s Sinema secret

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is urging his fellow Republicans to buck up Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — a Democrat, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans view Sinema and her moderate Democratic colleague Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia as their last line of defense against sweeping progressive laws — ranging from a $3.5 trillion social welfare bill to potentially irreversible structural changes like eliminating the filibuster and adding new states to the union.

Trump's Republican critics rake in cash

Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger during the first Jan. 6 hearing. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Republican critics of Donald Trump have raked in campaign cash this year as their votes to impeach the former president and investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack have put them in the crosshairs of Trump and his allies.

Why it matters: The 2022 midterms won't just determine which party controls Congress. They're also shaping up to be a test of Trump's continued hold on the GOP. The few remaining Republican dissenters in Washington need to put up big fundraising numbers if they hope to stave off a purge.