The White House on Thursday rebuffed Republicans’ plans to fund their proposed infrastructure package with leftover funds that were allocated for the COVID-19 pandemic, The Daily Caller reports.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that ”At first review, we note several constructive additions to the group’s previous proposals, including on roads, bridges and rail. At the same time, we remain concerned that their plan still provides no substantial new funds for critical job-creating needs, such as fixing our veterans’ hospitals, building modern rail systems, repairing our transit systems, removing dangerous lead pipes, and powering America’s leadership in a job-creating clean energy economy, among other things.”
The statement added, ”Lastly, we are concerned that the proposal on how to pay for the plan remains unclear: we are worried that major cuts in COVID relief funds could imperil pending aid to small businesses, restaurants and rural hospitals using this money to get back on their feet after the crush of the pandemic.”
When asked during a press conference if the proposal was ”a nonstarter,” Psaki said: ”Here is the reason why that would be difficult to be a key funding mechanism. Ninety-five percent of it is already allocated, 5% of it would go towards some key areas, including boosting up small businesses, restaurants, rebuilding veterans hospitals — something that is of personal importance to the president.”
She added, ”We think there are better ways to pay for it and we think people should have a full understanding of what that is proposing.”
Psaki, who described the latest offer from the GOP as ”encouraging,” partly due to Republicans having ”substantially increased the funding level” they were willing to support to almost $1 trillion.
The press secretary also pointed out that the White House will ”work actively with members of the House and Senate next week” ahead of when Congress recommences with its work next month, and said that President Joe Biden has not yet ”had a chance yet to go over the details of the counteroffer” and said, ”we’re going to have to close this down soon.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on Thursday dismissed the proposal as not ”a serious counteroffer” in an interview with MSNBC.
“First of all, they don’t have pay-fors for this, it’s not real,” Warren said. “They have this illusory notion of how we’re going to take money that’s already been committed to other places and other spending.”