February 24, 2021 2:00 PM, EST

Senate EPW Panel Starts Looking at Infrastructure Package

Sen. Tom Carper leads EPW hearingSen. Tom Carper chairs a Senate panel hearing with four guests on infrastructure needs. (Senate EPW via YouTube)

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A Senate committee began consideration Feb. 24 of President Joe Biden’s follow-up to the pandemic-relief bill: a major push on infrastructure.

At the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing on Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative, lawmakers and witnesses from both sides of the aisle spoke enthusiastically about the need for substantial federal investment in infrastructure. But Republicans warned not to scale up the bill too much.

“The strong bipartisan support that exists for a surface transportation reauthorization bill and other infrastructure legislation will not extend to a multitrillion-dollar package that is stocked full with ideologically driven, one-size-fits-all policies,” said West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the senior Republican on the committee.

The package the Biden administration and Democratic lawmakers are planning could be the biggest infrastructure spending commitment since the Depression-era New Deal. But progressives are eyeing much more, such as an expansion of the Affordable Care Act and a public-sector jobs program, plus tax measures including an increase in the capital-gains levy.

Governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Larry Hogan of Maryland testified, along with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Victoria Sheehan, president of American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

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