President Joe Biden's $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan is getting strong pushback from Republicans, including from members of Oklahoma's Congressional delegation.
The president's American Jobs Plan, unveiled Wednesday in Pittsburgh, would tackle a wide range of infrastructure issues: roads, bridges, broadband access, affordable housing, public transit and much more.
"The American Jobs Plan will lead to transformational progress in our effort to tackle Climate Change with American jobs and American ingenuity," Biden said at the announcement.
Historically, infrastructure bills often have support on both sides of the aisle because they give members of Congress the chance to show they are bringing dollars back to their home states, in the form of highway and road contracts. Beyond that, the bills meet very concrete needs.
"It’s very important," said Rep. Kevin Hern, (R) OK-1. "Most great societies have failed in history, because of the failure to take care of their infrastructure."
But Hern said one of the big problems with this infrastructure bill is that it would be paid for, largely, by increasing taxes on corporate America. He said there are significant dollars -- about $2 trillion -- in unused COVID relief funding that could pay for this instead raising taxes.
"If only Congress, led by Democrats in the House and Senate sides, would open it up so we can use it for things such as infrastructure in our states," Hern said.
The other big concern many Republicans have with the proposal is its emphasis on climate change, racial inequities and other issues not traditionally included in transportation bills.
In a written statement, Sen. Jim Inhofe, (R) Oklahoma, said of the proposal:
“President Biden’s plan uses roads and bridges – a truly bipartisan and popular issue -- to try to advance the far left’s agenda. Its focus on advancing the environmental left’s vision for the American economy will hurt rural Oklahoma and eliminate oil and gas jobs.”
Inhofe said he's worked successfully with past administrations on bipartisan infrastructure plans, and said he's committed to working with Biden to get this one right. He said it can be done.