April 1, 2021 3:30 PM, EDT

Granholm, Buttigieg to Help Sell Infrastructure Plan

Jennifer Granholm, Pete ButtigiegGranholm by Stefani Reynolds; Buttigieg by David Paul Morris, Bloomberg News

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President Joe Biden said he had directed five of his Cabinet members, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, to help advance his plan to spend $2.25 trillion on infrastructure and other priorities.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh would round out the group, Biden said April 1 during his first Cabinet meeting at the White House.

“Working with my team here in the White House, these cabinet members will represent me in dealing with Congress, engage the public in selling the plan and help work out the details as we refine it and move forward,” Biden said. He didn’t take questions from reporters.

Biden outlined the spending proposal on March 31, describing it as a job-creation plan that would invest hundreds of billions of dollars over eight years in projects including public transportation, high-speed broadband, manufacturing and child and elderly care.

The package promises to spark a heated battle on Capitol Hill, where Republicans have balked at Biden’s plan to raise corporate taxes to pay for it. Even Democrats aren’t united, with moderates concerned about the price tag and progressives arguing the plan is too small.

“I think it’s a big mistake,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said April 1 at an event in Kentucky. Biden’s proposal “is not going to get support on our side,” he added.

The White House said it’s prepared to work with members of both parties and listen to alternative proposals to pay for the measure. Republicans, though, are wary that Biden will compromise.

GOP lawmakers point to the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package that Biden signed into law earlier this month without garnering a single Republican vote. Republicans said the president ignored their input during negotiations.

Democrats already are laying the groundwork to draft and vote on the package, whatever its ultimate shape. Speaker Nancy Pelosi set a July 4 deadline for House passage. That could allow the Senate to finish work on the bill in early August before the monthlong congressional recess.

— With assistance from Laura Litvan.

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