CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS) — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said President Joe Biden laid out a very ambitious agenda Wednesday night -- and the part about paying for the $2.2 trillion plan gave her heartburn.
Capito was one of about 200 members of Congress who attended the president's joint address to Congress. The gathering was limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Normally, about 1,600 people are packed into the chamber for a joint session.
In a video conference with reporters Thursday, Capito said the Republicans' pared down $600 billion infrastructure version would be paid for by user fees related to transportation and repurposing federal dollars from the coronavirus aid bills.
“Number one, we use the gas tax, the trust fund," Capito said.
Other possibilities being looked at is a registration or purchase fee for electric cars. And then there is a fee based on how much you drive.
"The other thing is vehicle miles traveled is an idea that’s out there. In other words, if you use the roads a lot, you pay a little bit more. If you only drive to the grocery store and back, you pay a little bit less," Capito said. "There are some concept ideas that are out there as to how we would arrive at those figures. There’s also some pilot studies out west where they’re actually looking at vehicle miles traveled, particularly in the cargo area."
Biden’s proposal would, among other things, raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to help pay for his economic plan. Capito is against raising the corporate tax rate.
"I think we can pay for it without raising taxes and I would prefer to do that," Capito said. “The president said last night that that tax cut did not result in higher wages, and that’s not true in West Virginia. The tax cut did result in higher wages, more people working and more diversity in the workforce.”
Capito admits the two parties are far apart right now, but remains positive.
"We're all at the table and I've talked with the White House as recently as this morning, and we're very serious about trying to reach a compromise," Capito said.