WASHINGTON D.C. — Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Thursday she may be on board with some elements of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, but the “massive spending bill really misses the mark.”
The $2.2 trillion American Jobs Plan covers an array of initiatives, but for Capito the focus should be on roads, bridges and broadband as well as water, wastewater management and other traditional infrastructure items, especially those that are jobs creators.
“We have agreement in those areas,” she said during a virtual news conference.
The plan is to bring the nation’s transportation sector to a “more modern and modernized system.”
“We have always had bipartisan agreement on infrastructure,” she said, adding that, as ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, she is “right in the middle of this.”
But, she said, Biden’s plan “falls apart in other areas of funding that I don’t think are infrastructure and not job creators.”
Capito listed initiatives in the plan such as $400 billion for home health care and other billions for school and government buildings.
“Over $1 trillion is fluff,” she said, and addresses “social infrastructure.”
“I’m a great believer in home health care but that’s not what I consider traditional job creating infrastructure packages where we’re modernizing moving people, moving goods, and really modernizing our economy,” she said in a related interview Thursday. “He (Biden) talks about some high-speed rail projects. Those are things that are well worth looking into. But let’s not go away from where we are able to do the job creation, boost the economy, and get a lot of people back to work at the same time, and then have our modernization of our airports, our waterways, more broadband. These are where our core functions should be focused at the moment.”
She said recently the 80 percent federal match for funding King Coal Highway and the Coalfield Expressway should also be part of the plan.
Transportation infrastructure includes $621 billion in spending, most of which Capito has said she could support, along with other initiatives that are in the infrastructure arena and create jobs.
Capito also said she opposes raising the corporate tax from the current 21 percent, which was lowered to that figure under the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, to 28 percent under Biden’s plan.
The money would be earmarked to help pay for the $2.2 trillion plan.
“We had over a trillion dollars come back into this country that was repatriated because of the lowering of the corporate rate,” she said. “So, I don’t want to see us go back to raising taxes to where we’re going to stagnate, possibly, the progress that we have made.”
Bipartisanship remains a goal, and she said she and others are working hard to try to make it happen.
“I am concerned with a spending package with no bipartisan support,” she said. “We are making a genuine effort here. I am going to hope we can reach a consensus.”
But Capito said the Democrats can move to a partisan process, as they did in the $1.9 trillion stimulus package.
“The American people want to see us do things together,” she said.