A group of Republican lawmakers, led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), last week offered a $928 billion counterproposal to President Joe Biden’s $1.7 trillion infrastructure package.
The Republican plan outlines $257 billion in new spending for improving roads, bridges, and other traditional infrastructure projects. It also proposes to reallocate remaining COVID-19 relief dollars to help fund the package. In response, the White House noted some of the pandemic funds are designated for specific needs, including the Provider Relief Fund.
As Congress left for the Memorial Day break, the White House continued to engage with lawmakers to develop a bipartisan infrastructure package. However, both sides remain divided on how much to spend, how to pay for it, and how to define infrastructure.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) still hopes to have a vote on infrastructure legislation by July 4.
Congress Seeks Input on Public Option
A joint request from leaders of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and House Committee on Energy and Commerce seeks information on how to develop and design a public health insurance option, including recommendations for eligibility, access, benefits structure, and prices. Stakeholders have until July 31 to respond.
While Biden has indicated his support for a public option, his administration has not offered a policy proposal. The legislative path for a public option remains uncertain given the evenly divided Senate and razor-thin Democratic majority in the House. Even under budget reconciliation — the mechanism that would allow the Senate to pass legislation by majority vote under special rules — virtually all congressional Democrats would have to support public option legislation for it to become law.