United States

Bipartisan lawmakers readying alternative to Biden infrastructure plan

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U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) wears a protective mask while departing the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 13, 2021. Stefani Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS

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WASHINGTON, April 27 (Reuters) - A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. Congress are working on an alternative to President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan that would cost roughly half as much but spend far more on roads and bridges, a Republican senator said on Tuesday.

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy said the alternative eight-year plan was discussed last weekend in a meeting that included Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Republicans and Democrats from both the Senate and House of Representatives.

Senate Republicans unveiled their own five-year, $568 billion infrastructure proposal last week. read more

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Cassidy said the bipartisan proposal would cost half as much as Biden's and spend three times more to revitalize America's roads and bridges. His description would suggest a top-line figure of just over $1 trillion, with about $300 billion devoted to traditional infrastructure projects.

He said the package would also include an energy component but did not elaborate and gave no timeline for the unveiling of the plan.

"That will be an alternative that I will speak to, to the president's proposal," Cassidy said in a video conference with Louisiana-based reporters.

"Because it's only half as much, it means that we don't have to raise the taxes like the Democrats are," he added. "It's a better proposal."

Biden's sweeping plan not only addresses traditional infrastructure and broadband access but it would also seek to change the course of the U.S. economy by addressing climate change and boosting social services such as elder care. Biden would pay for his plan by raising taxes on U.S. corporations.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hopes to pass the Biden proposal by July. But Republicans and some Democrats have pushed back, and Biden has engaged in several rounds of bipartisan talks.

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a key Senate swing vote who participated in last week's bipartisan discussions with Cassidy, said on Sunday that he would also favor a more targeted approach than Biden's plan. read more

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Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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