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tv   Senate GOP Offer Infrastructure Counterproposal  CSPAN  May 27, 2021 5:31pm-5:57pm EDT

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online on c-span.org. go to c-span.org/coronavirus for the federal response to the pandemic. if you miss live coverage, it is easy to the latest things in the biden administration's response. >> senate republicans are negotiating with president biden on the cost of an infrastructure bill. they laid out their plans at a news conference.
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>> hi, everybody. >> good morning. >> pretty day. everybody here? hang on just a second come on guys. good morning and i want to thank everybody for being here. i would like to thank my colleagues, senator blood, >> -- senator blunt. senator wicker wasn't able to join but they are here in spirit. i am sorry they are not here. they have emboldened us to speak in their stead. senate republicans continue to negotiate in good faith.
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we have had a lot of good dialogue with the white house. we are trying to get to the goal of reaching a bipartisan infrastructure agreement. we believe this counter wrapper -- offer delivers on what president biden told us in the oval office. that is to try to reach somewhere near $1 trillion over an eight year time. we have achieved that goal with this counter offer. we have done something i think has stayed true to what our beliefs are when we started this endeavor. speaking to core physical infrastructure. what is the definition of infrastructure. we have stayed within the boundaries of our original plan. that is what the american people
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think of when they think of infrastructure. that is what we do, too. there are couple bits of news since the meeting. we have passed a bipartisan water infrastructure passage for $35. with chairman carper. bipartisan. we have it 89-2, got a vote in the senate floor. that is one of the pieces we have agreement on in terms of infrastructure. yesterday, we passed a $316 trillion surface transportation bill. it has a lot of things the president would like. resiliency, roads and bridges. we have connecting communities in there. we also have ev charging infrastructure peace in there. that passed out of our committee
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, 20-0. we are working on the floor right now in endless frontier. it came out of a congress committee, bipartisan. that was part of what the president originally asked us to look at as infrastructure. we don't consider that physical infrastructure, but we do think it is part of the package the president should be able to distinguish as part of his infrastructure. what we are looking at today is 928 billion dollar package over five years. it sticks to the core infrastructure features we talked about. it is an effort to reach a bipartisan agreement. the president said to me and us he was agnostic as to whether we pass a bunch of small bills or large bill. we have heard him say inaction is not an option. we have passed two of the smaller's.
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it is a major anchor to this piece of legislation. i think that shows there is a hunger for bipartisanship. there is an ability to achieve that. we are hoping this moves the ball forward. we believe the alternative, a partisan reconciliation process, would be destructive to our future bipartisan attempts. does not serve the american public and would not get us to an infrastructure package such as the one we believe would serve the american interests. also, constrains spending to areas of core physical infrastructure. our infrastructure has been the envy of the world. we want to take that place again. we want to make it better. with that, i am going to turn it over to senator toomey. >> take you for your leadership.
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it has been a lot of hard work and we are grateful. a couple of quick points, one of them is the consistency with which we have communicated how we think about this to president biden and his team. that includes this group of senators. leader mcconnell. that consistency i am alluding to is the fact we want to focus on actual infrastructure. the platforms and services that move people and goods and services. that's what people understand to be infrastructure. we can reach an agreement if we focus on those items. the second thing we have been clear on, every single time we have had a discussion, we are not raising taxes. we believe the 2017 tax reform intuited significantly to enabling us to achieve the best economy of my lifetime. that is no small thing. we are not interested in undoing
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the provisions of any tax reform that allowed us to get there. finally, we have observed there is a true menace amount of money that was approved in previous bills, six bills in the course of the year or so. trillions of dollars. many hundreds of billions have not even been spent yet. they clearly were not about covid, about an economic recovery. if you dig about it this way, if you look at the offer we are putting on the table today, 928 billion dollars. you look at the money already in the pipeline expected in the form of revenue for the highway trust fund, there is a gap that needs to be filled. $575 billion. take a look at this chart. the red bars represent the money from the american rescue plan that isn't even going to be
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spent by the end of this fiscal year. it is scheduled to be spent in future years. it adds up to about $700 billion. that is just one of the several bills we passed that have these sources of funds that have not been spent yet. we believe repurpose seen these funds needs to be a really important part of how we fill this gap. if the gap is $575 billion, and we know there tens and hundreds of billions of previously passed bills, clearly the resources are there to do this. thank you very much. >> first, i want to thank shelley for your hard work. you talk somebody with patience and persistence, doing it in a positive way, grateful. this is a real offer of self since -- substance and
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significance. it is what people at home in wyoming thing about as infrastructure. roads with potholes that need to be fixed. waterways, airports, ports that are clogged could read flooding in different water systems. we think about bridges that are aging. what we can do to help those. this is what president biden talked about in the white house. this is fully paid for, it avoids the big threat to the economy right now, which is inflation. inflation is the number one threat to the economy. is not just me saying that, it is larry summers who had a long and the washington post talking about inflation that is calming -- coming. to a greater degree than he thought. it is because of all the additional spending going on. because of this additional trillions going into the
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economy. it is clearly money that should be spent in ways that has already been committed. not additional borrowing and spending. this is what we talked to the president about. what we are proposing today could pass in a bipartisan way. the old nickname for is middle class joe. this is sling he would normally be for. we have democrats demanding $6 trillion and now seven between dollars in spending for different things. they may override the president on this. that is what my concerns are with nancy pelosi and chuck schumer, what is basically socialism camouflaged as
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infrastructure, which is the direction they are heading with massive tax increases that are going to hurt the economy. if that is the direction they want to go, they are not going to have even a single republican support. i would say to president biden, this will work. we would very much recommend to you accepting this, moving ahead with it, endorsing it, and getting this done for the best interest of our nation. >> shelley, thanks to you and what everybody else said, your staff came together. to try to work out an offer we think is well within the framework of the meeting we had with the president. the best meeting we had was with the president who i think would
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like to see a bipartisan solution and who certainly understands the dynamics of now you are going to come together and get some things done. i think that can happen. we will see how they respond. in terms of pay fours, there are other things we are willing to put in the table. people who use -- no better time to start that. infrastructure has been seen as an obligation, one of the obligations of the federal government. particular roads -- particularly roads, bridges, and canals were the first thing is the early congress started talking about and started doing. our view of infrastructure has been if we would just look at any definition of infrastructure that the group of reporters assembled in this room, if you
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had been asked six months ago, write down your definition of infrastructure, it would be the same definition we are pursuing right now. the connectedness, above the ground and under the ground. airports, ports, roads, bridges. highways. all of those things are in our package and a number of other things. broadband would not have met the early congressional definition. or even 40 years ago, but it fits well within the connectedness aspect of what americans would think infrastructure should be. infrastructure is and has always been important. it is also popular. it is popular with republicans in congress. with the american people. i don't blame the president saying let's take a topic everybody is for, infrastructure, and let's call everything infrastructure.
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the manufacturing infrastructure. understand why you would want to do that, but we are not going to get a bipartisan agreement that way. who knows? they have to decide. did they want to do something with 50 democrats and the vice president, or do they want to do a substantial part of that package and a bipartisan way? the president was very upfront in our meeting with him. if we do divide this up, he said, i will try to get the rest of it some other way. we totally understand that. as a matter fact, we don't mind debating the things in the other bill and see if that is with the american people want to do. let's not do it under the guise of infrastructure permit from the start, our guidelines were no changes in the 2017 tax bill.
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every republican here voted for that bill. every republican said it had the economy headed in a good direction. the other guideline was, let's do infrastructure in a way that infrastructure has been generally understood. one of the problems we have had in the congress the past several years, we let too many things wrap themselves up in one big bill, whether it is the end of congress or some other time. we should not let that happen. it does not produce the best results. the people that we work for, for good reasons, don't have any idea what we are passing when we passed that big bill at the end of congress that has become way too much of the pattern. let's not continue that with everything else we can think of. the pay fors can include lots
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of things we are talking about. one thing will be repurposed seen money that just did not get used. senator to me mention this money in the bill that passed this year. there is a lot of covid specific money any other five bills he did not need to spend for what we thought we would need to spend it for. we spent about a year guessing. frankly, i think congress guest pretty well. probably the story of five i partisan bills has not been told as vividly as it should have been told. some things worked really well like the ptech protection bland -- paycheck protection plan. some things like loans for companies worked fairly at all. many of the columns about how much we did for this and that simply did not get used up. better to use that money for something we all want to do then have it sit around for a pet
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project. thanks to my colleagues. we have had good discussions with the administration. hopefully we will find out today those discussions were all in good eighth and they want to talk further about how we pay for the 900 plus billion dollar package we are offering. any of these numbers, 500 billion, 600 billion, 900 billion, would be the biggest infrastructure bill ever put in a president look -- president's desk by a congress. surely we can figure out how that is a win. >> have time for just a couple of questions. >> [indiscernible] >> no. yes. >> -- rebutting this idea there
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is this -- [indiscernible] >> you might want to talk about that. senator toomey: if the white house is saying that money has been spent, they need to show us that. we have not seen the numbers that suggest that. the cbo was adamant much of this money couldn't be spent. it was not physically possible to get it out the door. we think there is a lot of money from the previous five bills that has not been spent. we believe this money is available. if they have a different theory, they need to show us the numbers. senator moore: i would use as an example the 20 some states that will not take enhanced unemployment. those dollars are not going to be spent. we know that because states have said it is time to get to work.
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it has been a deterrent any a lot of states for people to get back to work. >> [indiscernible] is that a gap that can be bridged? >> when you are looking at the 1.7 showing dollars from the white house, what are you looking at? $400 billion for the carrying economy. i believe $100 billion for ev vouchers. we don't think this is the place for that. you can get down pretty quick if you start looking at some of -- v.a. hospitals, schools. housing. some of those are big numbers in the president's initial proposal.
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we don't agree that his physical infrastructure. it is not a 1.7 -- i have been trying to explain this and it is getting missed a little bit. i think the gaps are much less. the important thing here is the president's desire and our desire to do something together has traditionally been handled by the congress and the white house, working together on important issues that impact every single person. >> is it possible that doing a compromise bill depends on you agreeing on a definition of what this is? >> i would say that is probably the big question is the scope. we haven't been satisfied, i don't think, with the way the white house has responded to our
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first initial ask in narrowing the scope. what they did was take out their r&d, manufacturing segment of about 500. the r&d portion is the endless frontier bill. >> the american rescue plan, that is the biggest accomplishment since they have come to office. what makes you think they would like to take money out of their own pockets to do this instead? >> many of us think the biggest accomplishment of the republican congress was the tax reform. what makes them think we want to undo the tax reform that gave us the best economy of my lifetime? we passed many trillions of dollars. as senator blunt pointed out, we did the best we could estimating what we might need in an uncertain environment.
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turns out, in many categories, we needed less than we thought. we don't think all of these categories actually -- any of them have nothing to do with cobit or an economic recovery. we think this is an important source of funding. >> you are saying this is where that money comes from -- >> this is meant to illustrate the fact there is a tremendous amount of money that is available to be repurposed. we need about 570 $5 billion. there 700 billy dollars right here. there is probably hundreds of billions from previous bills. we can have conversations about which items would be repurposed for infrastructure. >> the trump administration reported monthly as those previous bills all required. this bill does not have quite the same language in it. didn't pass like appropriators would pass, which says you have
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to be accountable to us all the time. those balances were pretty big in january. there is no reason to believe they are being spent down unless they are being spend out for other purposes than what they were appropriate it for. those bills had a tighter transfer of control and this bill does. they are repurposing money out of this bill right now for unaccompanied children. to the tune of like $2.3 billion. the idea we would never want to repurposed money -- we will mention the secretary of the treasury says if you don't want to fuel inflation but you do want to do infrastructure, use -- look for money you have already appropriate it is not being spent. -- appropriated, but is not being spent.
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>> thank you, you all. >> sba administrator is a bill goose men testified friday in the activities of the small business administration. watch the subcommittee hearing live start at 10:00 a.m. eastern. >> the tech industry is often about the future. politics is a lot about the president. there are valid concerns people have about the present about what technology is going to mean for them. i am not keen on bashing congress. i do think any future technology has to answer a lot of questions and concerns about what the impact is going to be. those are understandable questions. >> the power of the tech
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industry and its impact, with chamber of progress founder adam. in the communicators. -- on "the committee hitters. >> president biden was in cleveland with a discussion about his infrastructure plan and plans to pay for. the speech was just under 40 minutes. >> [applause] >> thank you, all. thank you. [applause] >> please sit down. thank you very much for sharing your story, it is impressive. everybody at cuyahoga community college, thank you for having me here and being here.

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