ICYMI: T&I Republican Priorities Highlighted at White House Infrastructure Meeting
In Case You Missed It, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Republicans pressed their priorities for surface transportation reauthorization during an infrastructure meeting at the White House yesterday.
Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL), Rep. John Katko (R-NY), and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) joined the President, the Vice President, Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg and Committee Majority leaders for the meeting.
Ranking Member Graves released this statement after the meeting, and the following are some highlights of the news coverage:
“I thought it was good, it seemed to be productive. The president was very engaged and very open,” Graves said in a phone interview with The Hill….
The high cost of an infrastructure package, which could increase the corporate tax rate, and the climate change component are both divisive issues for Republicans.
Graves said Thursday that Republicans did not want the bill to be “a climate bill with a few transportation projects.” He said Biden made clear climate is important to him but seemed receptive to their concerns.
Missouri Rep. Sam Graves, the ranking Republican on the transportation committee, left the Thursday meeting with a series of markers for Biden to win bipartisan backing.
“First and foremost, a highway bill cannot grow into a multi-trillion dollar catch-all bill, or it will lose Republican support,” Graves said in a statement. “Second, a transportation bill needs to be a transportation bill that primarily focuses on fundamental transportation needs, such as roads and bridges. Republicans won’t support another Green New Deal disguising itself as a transportation bill.”
A key House Republican said he told Joe Biden in a meeting on Thursday that the president’s plan to rebuild U.S. infrastructure will lose GOP support if it adds to the deficit or delves into issues beyond roads and bridges, such as expanding clean power sources.
Representative Sam Graves of Missouri, the senior Republican on the Transportation committee, said the coming legislation must also balance needs in rural areas with those in cities.
“Rural infrastructure needs cannot be left behind, and we cannot continue to allow a growing disparity between resources provided to urban and rural communities,” Graves said in a statement after the meeting.
“Republicans are eager to work on bipartisan solutions, but it will take a willingness to compromise and a good faith effort to consider Republican priorities,” he said.
But Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), the top Republican on the committee, told POLITICO that he’s focused on roads and bridges, as a surface transportation bill needs to be reauthorized by the end of the fiscal year.
“We’ll see, when it comes to other components, what is added, if it is paid for and just how far it goes," Graves said. “I’m open. I’m not shutting the door on anything. But there are a few things I've got to have to be supportive.”
Graves laid out what Republicans will need to go along with an infrastructure bill — “we need to make sure that this doesn’t get out of hand, we need to keep it manageable, we need to balance interests between rural and urban.” Although he highlighted some green elements he’d like to keep in the bill, like resiliency and some proposals on concrete, overall he’s wary of a "Green New Deal"-style bill loaded with Democratic climate priorities.
Rep. Sam Graves, the top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, joined the meeting and told MarketWatch afterwards that it “went well.”
“The president seems to be very open to getting a transportation bill, and he was engaged and knowledgeable about what he wanted — I thought it was a good meeting,” said Graves, a Missouri Republican….
“I don’t think Republicans are very interested in raising taxes,” Graves told MarketWatch. He also said infrastructure shouldn’t be “an out-of-control process when it comes to spending,” and stressed that rural as well as urban needs must be addressed.