President Joe Biden’s administration hopes that it can win bipartisan support for a massive infrastructure package but a top Democrat was caught on a hot mic warning that Democrats will likely need to go it alone once again, Politico reports.
Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, was caught by a hot mic on C-SPAN telling Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during a visit to a UPS facility that Democrats may need to use budget reconciliation to pass the bill, as they did with the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Biden signed last week.
"Ultimately it’s going to be put together similar,” Cardin told Buttigieg, explaining that Democrats “most likely have to use reconciliation” because Republicans will only “meet with you to a point.”
Biden admin open to reconciliation:
Biden and Buttigieg have met with members of both parties in recent days but Buttigieg acknowledged that the administration could support a bill down party lines.
Buttigieg told Cardin he was “pretty process-agnostic.”
“We just want it to work, and get through," he said.
"We’ve got a clock on everything we’re doing, especially because the present surface reauthorization is up in September," he told reporters. "We’re not waiting until September in order to act. Conversations are taking place right now as you’ve seen, Oval Office meetings with the president, leaders from both parties and both Houses."
Centrists push tax hike:
Centrist Democrats are calling for the bill to raise taxes to pay for the cost of the bill, which could swell to $4 trillion.
Bloomberg reported that Biden is planning the first major federal tax hike in 30 years to help pay for the bill, though the administration reiterated its vow that taxes would not go up for any households earning up to $400,000 per year.
The tax hikes are expected to be similar to those Biden called for on the campaign trail. One would increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. Another would repeal Trump’s tax cuts for those earning over $400,000. Biden has also called for a higher capital gains tax for individuals earning over $1 million per year and closing loopholes that allow income to be passed through other entities to avoid taxation.