For instance, Republicans claim to be proposing $299 billion for roads and bridges over the next five years. But the thing is, the Congressional Budget Office currently has a baseline of $260 billion for roads and bridges over the next five years, so Republicans are actually only proposing an additional $39 billion, which is a 15% increase. Biden, by contrast, is asking for a 44% increase of $115 billion.
”In all,” Kessler writes, “it looks like the GOP plan would add $189 billion to the baseline of current spending, compared to Biden’s $785 billion for the same line items.” And Biden’s plan also covers things the Republicans don’t even pretend to want to fund.
So this is the comparison reporters need to be making—the Republican “$568 billion” plan to counter Biden’s $2.2 trillion plan is in fact more like $200 billion. The public needs to understand that, and one reason the public needs to understand that is that poll after poll shows that people want infrastructure investment.
A new CBS News poll adds to that picture. The survey found 58% approval for Biden’s plan, including 57% of independents. When people were asked about spending on specific areas, without making it partisan by mentioning Biden or Democrats, at least three out of four people wanted more federal spending on building or repairing American roads and bridges (87%), replacing or repairing water pipes (85%), installing broadband internet in rural areas (78%), and building public schools (73%). And one more: providing more home care for the elderly (83%). That’s one of the parts of Biden’s plan that congressional Republicans have mocked as not really even being infrastructure, but it’s more popular than rural broadband or building schools.
While congressional Republicans howl about the idea of paying for infrastructure by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, the poll found 71% support—including from around half of Republicans—for each of those ideas. When it comes to corporate taxes, that echoes years of polling and a lot of recent polling on the subject.
Biden’s plan is popular. But Republicans have to oppose anything Biden does, rooting for the nation’s failure if it means Biden will also fail. So they’re proposing something smaller—but they can’t even be honest about how much smaller. And no wonder, given how the public feels about the issue.