The White House on Monday threatened to veto House Democrats’ $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, arguing the bill is “full of wasteful ‘Green New Deal’ initiative.”
“This bill is problematic for several reasons. It is heavily biased against rural America. It also appears to be entirely debt-financed. And it fails to tackle the issue of unnecessary permitting delays, which are one of the most significant impediments to improving our infrastructure,” the White House said in a statement, calling the bill a “full of wasteful ‘Green New Deal’ initiatives.”
The White House added that the bill “heavily skewed toward programs that would disproportionately benefit America’s urban areas” while criticized the bill for not addressing permitting “one of the biggest roadblocks” such as the infrastructure development facing a long time frame it faces to complete environmental reviews.
Republicans slammed House Democrats’ infrastructure plan, calling it a “Democratic wish list,” saying it focuses too heavily on fulfilling the values of the Green New Deal such as climate change mandates. Top Republicans on the House Transportation Committee issued a statement saying they weren’t consulted on the input of the infrastructure package.
Known as the Moving Forward Act, the 2,300-page bill contains billions in funding to repair roads and bridges while expanding broadband access in rural areas. It includes $25 billion for drinking water, $100 billion for broadband, $70 billion for clean energy projects, $100 billion for low-income schools, $30 billion to upgrade hospitals, $100 billion in funding for public housing, and $25 billion for the postal service. The largest component of the bill is a $500 billion green measures is requiring states to account for climate change before undertaking projects and also requires states to meet certain greenhouse gas emission goals when they receive funding.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) described the bill as the biggest legislative effort to fight climate change, saying this package would “make real the promise of building infrastructure in a green and resilient way.”
“It’s job-creating in its essence, but it’s also commerce-promoting. So it grows the economy of our country,” Pelosi said during the unveiling of the bill last week.
Democrats have not outlined how they will pay for the bill, but Pelosi said “with the interest rates where they are now there’s never been a better time for us to go big.”
A vote on the legislation is expected before the Fourth of July recess. The House is set to begin debating on the measure on Tuesday with a final vote expected later this week. The bill is likely to pass the Democrat-led House, but it will face greater resistance in the GOP-led Senate as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not expressed a willingness to bring the bill to the Senate floor.
“As you know, the Grim Reaper said nothing is ever going any place in the Senate,” Pelosi said, calling McConnell the Grim Reaper. “But there is tremendous interest in the country in building the infrastructure.”