Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats should expect “zero” support from his party for President Joe Biden’s new big-ticket infrastructure and social spending proposals.
Speaking Monday at the University of Louisville, McConnell said Republicans may be flexible on the price tag for a counteroffer on infrastructure made by a group of GOP senators, but Biden’s proposals — the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan — were too expensive.
“I think I can pretty safely say none of my Republican colleagues are going to support a $4.1 trillion infrastructure package, only part of which is for infrastructure,” McConnell said.
He pointed to the offer made by Republican ranking members of the Senate committees that would work on an infrastructure bill, a plan with a gross cost of $568 billion but which Democrats have criticized as too small and not providing enough new money, in contrast with Biden’s plan, which has been described as new money on top of existing planned spending.
Asked if that amount was a “hard cap” on how high Republicans were willing to go on infrastructure , McConnell said it wasn’t.
“If it’s going to be about infrastructure, let’s make it about infrastructure. And I think there’s some sentiment on the Democratic side for splitting it off,” he said.
Democrats face a variety of choices to make in the coming weeks about how to proceed. Do they use a process called budget reconciliation again, allowing them to pass a bill without any Republican votes in the Senate? Do they pass one bill with both Biden’s infrastructure and social spending plans — with a gross cost of about $4 trillion but which the administration says would be paid for with tax changes over 15 years — or split the proposals up into separate bills?
McConnell said single, big package would not garner Republican support.
“I don’t think there will be any Republican support — none, zero — for the $4.1 trillion grab bag that has infrastructure in it but a whole lot of other stuff,” he said.