WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is setting about convincing America it needs his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, deputizing a five-member “jobs Cabinet” to help in the effort. But the enormity of his task is clear after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's vowed to oppose the plan “every step of the way.”
Speaking in Kentucky on Thursday, McConnell said he likes Biden and they’ve been friends a long time. But the president will get no cooperation from the GOP, which objects to the corporate tax increases in the plan and says they would hurt America's ability to compete in a global economy.
“We have some big philosophical differences, and that’s going to make it more and more difficult for us to reach bipartisan agreements," the Republican leader said.
Biden, speaking at the White House on Friday, noted that Republicans have been talking for years about the need to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, and he predicted that GOP lawmakers would face pressure from their supporters if they don't act.
“I think the Republican voters are going to have a lot to say about whether we get a lot of this done," Biden said.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain said the key to any outreach is that the proposal’s ideas are already popular. Americans want smooth roads, safe bridges, reliable public transit, electric vehicles, drinkable water, new schools and investments in manufacturing, among the plan's many components, he said.
“We kind of think it’s just right," Klain said in a televised interview with the news organization Politico. "But we’re happy to have a conversation with people, less about the price tag, more about what are the elements that should be in the plan that people think are missing.”
Those conversations could be limited to Democrats as McConnell declared: “I’m going to fight them every step of the way."