Jun 11, 2021
Bipartisan Senate infrastructure deal would cost about $1 trillion
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(L-R) U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) take a break from a meeting on infrastructure for going to a vote at the U.S. Capitol June 8, 2021 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong | Getty Images
An infrastructure plan crafted by a group of Senate Democrats and Republicans would cost roughly $1 trillion, a price tag that leaves the senators with work to do to win over members of both parties.
The proposal, which aims to upgrade physical infrastructure such as transportation and water systems, would cost $974 billion over five years or $1.2 trillion over eight years, a source familiar with the plan told CNBC. It would include $579 billion in new spending above the baseline already set by Congress. Biden asked for about $600 billion in new money, according to Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.
Senators have not announced how they plan to pay for the investments. The proposal "would be fully paid for and not include tax increases," the 10 lawmakers who reached the deal said in a statement Thursday.
The group framed their proposal as a compromise to upgrade U.S. infrastructure with bipartisan support in Congress. The senators still need to win support from President Joe Biden and congressional leaders for their plan to gain traction.CNBC Politics
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In a statement responding to the plan Thursday night, White House spokesman Andrew Bates said "questions need to be addressed, particularly around the details of both policy and pay fors, among other matters."
"Senior White House staff and the Jobs Cabinet will work with the Senate group in the days ahead to get answers to those questions, as we also consult with other Members in both the House and the Senate on the path forward," he said.
The White House let senators know it would not agree to pay for a bill by either indexing the gas tax to inflation or implementing an electric vehicle mileage tax, NBC News reported Thursday. The measures would break Biden's promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 per year.
It is also unclear if the spending will be broad enough to win over Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., or progressives who have grown impatient with Biden's efforts to reach a bipartisan deal. While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he wants to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill, he has also signaled he aims to block major pieces of Biden's economic agenda.
Schumer and Pelosi's offices did not immediately respond to requests to comment. A spokesman for McConnell did not immediately comment.
Democrats are working on more than one front to pass an infrastructure bill and implement the first piece of Biden's economic recovery agenda. While the White House considers the bipartisan proposal, Democrats have started to set the groundwork to pass pieces of the president's $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan by other means.VIDEO2:2302:23Bipartisan group of senators reaches agreement on infrastructureFast Money
One tool is the five-year, $547 billion surface transportation funding bill advanced by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week. Democrats could use the measure, which the House could vote on as soon as the end of the month, to approve parts of Biden's agenda.
Biden has also urged Schumer and Pelosi to move forward with a budget resolution to set up the reconciliation process. By doing so, Democrats could pass an infrastructure bill without Republican support.
The path appears blocked for now. Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat whose vote the party would need to approve legislation in a Senate split 50-50 by party, has stressed he wants to pass a bipartisan bill.
Manchin is one of the 10 negotiators in the Senate group.
It is unclear whether Democratic leaders would accept the plan's lack of spending on so-called human infrastructure, such as Biden's plan to expand care for elderly and disabled Americans. The party could potentially weave those proposals into a separate bill based around Biden's American Families Plan. The proposal focuses on child care, education and health care.
Democrats have argued the country needs to improve care programs alongside physical infrastructure because both would help Americans get back to work.
Biden has also called to hike the corporate tax rate to at least 25% to pay for the first piece of his recovery plan. However, Republicans said they would not alter their 2017 tax law, which cut the corporate rate to 21% from 35%.
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Tags: biden’s economic biden’s economic infrastructure deal transportation schumer and pelosi the first piece on infrastructure bipartisan senate the senate group democrats could the white house the white house in a statement democrats billion in new biden to pay corporate tax the corporate the senators the proposal the senators joe manchin to win over
Apple apps, Google search, and Amazon Basics face drastic changes from bipartisan House antitrust bill
A new antitrust bill aimed at reducing conflicts of interest on online marketplaces could drastically decrease Big Tech companies giving preference to their own products and services and potentially even break up the tech giants.
The Ending Platform Monopolies Act, written by Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, would promote competition in online marketplaces, such as those run by Amazon or Google, by eliminating the "irreconcilable conflicts of interest" that arise from dominant platforms both controlling a marketplace and selling items on it.
A number of conservative Republicans, including prominent Trump supporters, such as Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, back the bill, as does the House antitrust panel's top Republican, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado.
The bill is part of a larger antitrust package the House Judiciary Committee is considering on Wednesday, consisting of five bipartisan bills drafted by lawmakers on the House Antitrust Subcommittee that would rein in tech companies.
The bills, including Jayapal’s legislation, are targeted at tech giants with a market capitalization of over $600 billion and at least 50 million monthly users or 100,000 business customers, such as Amazon, Apple, and Google. The legislative effort represents rising skepticism of Big Tech power on Capitol Hill.
Jayapal’s bill would make it easier for the federal government’s antitrust agencies, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, to stop Big Tech companies from preferencing their own products and services through discriminatory conduct. For example, the legislation is meant to change which products and services end up at the top of Google search results, Amazon product listings, or Apple app recommendations.
ANTI-BIG TECH ANTITRUST PUSH EXPECTED UNDER BIDEN
Such changes could lead to fewer Amazon 'Basic' generic products at the top of its website, more restaurant reviews from Yelp at the top of Google search results instead of its own recommendations, and fewer preinstalled apps on iPhones such as iMessage and FaceTime, said Charlotte Slaiman, head of competition policy at open internet advocacy group Public Knowledge.
The legislation also gives the agencies express authority to separate the marketplaces controlled by certain tech giants, including Amazon, Apple, and Google, from the products and services they offer if a conflict of interest exists between the two.
The antitrust agencies would enforce the legislation by conducting investigations into the tech giants' behavior. The agencies would probably have to sue them in court in order to stop the self-preferencing behavior or break them up altogether.
“Perhaps iMessage and Facetime won’t be preinstalled on the iPhone [because] of this bill, but you could easily download them after,” said Jane Chung, the Big Tech accountability advocate at the consumer group Public Citizen.
“Amazon and Google would also keep pushing all their products and services but without the self-preferencing. I cannot overemphasize how big of a f***ing deal these bills are for small businesses and a fair economy,” said Chung.
The companies and their lobbyists, along with tech trade associations, have been aggressively portraying the antitrust bills as hurtful to consumers in trying to cajole members of Congress into opposition.
“The legislation is a solution in search of a problem and will be bad for consumers thanks to less competition and higher prices,” said Carl Szabo, vice president at NetChoice, an advocacy group that represents companies, including Amazon and Google.
“All of these problems being argued can be solved through current antitrust law, but instead Congress wants to rewrite the law so that all tech defendants are guilty by default,” Szabo said.
Thirteen advocacy organizations allied and funded by the tech giants have come out against Jayapal’s bill, claiming it would take away services and products that consumers like.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
“Rep. Jayapal’s bill would force free apps like Google Maps, YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, iMessage, and FaceTime to be divested from their parent companies, putting at risk these free services and making them less accessible to the public,” the groups said in a letter Monday to the House Judiciary Committee in charge of the bill.News Policy Economy online commerce Big Tech Technology Amazon Apple Google Monopoly