Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif. 15th District) is urging his Republican colleagues to get onboard with President Joe Biden's sweeping $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, saying that the bill addresses many issues that plagued the country even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We know that as Americans get back to work, as the economy reopens, we'll be reminded of our crumbling infrastructure," Swalwell told Cheddar.
"Americans want to spend less time in their cars and more time with their families, so that means investing in rails, additional highways, roads, bridges, tunnels."
Swalwell also noted the potential for broadband expansion under the Biden proposal, particularly for students who have lacked access to adequate internet service during the establishment of distance learning.
The president's infrastructure plan calls for a hike in corporate taxes from 21 percent to 28 percent, a move that many Republicans have come out against though the proposal is still below the 35 percent rate that existed before the Trump administration. Swalwell said the GOP has to be "a part of this process" and hopes some are willing to cross the aisle for the benefit of the country at large.
"President Biden ran on a uniting-the-country agenda, and he is reaching across the aisle," Swalwell said. "And I hope he will find partners that will work with him."
"I'm confident, on our side, in the House, we will do what is needed to get done. I hope that on the Republican side in the Senate, that they can achieve 60 votes, meaning at least 10 Republicans cross the aisle for the infrastructure needs that are there."
In hopes of enticing Republican lawmakers to support Biden's plan, the California representative also pointed to the return of earmarks or "member-directed spending," which allow lawmakers to direct funds to specific projects or groups in their districts. Earmarks were temporarily banned by each party in 2011 after President Obama promised to veto any bill containing them during his State of the Union address.
Senate Republicans voted to permanently ban the practice in 2019 but have shown signs they may be willing to re-embrace them, according to The Hill.
Swalwell noted that not only are Democratic lawmakers supporting the American Jobs Plan, their constituents are also backing it.
"I just think good policy is good politics, and if we keep this country open, if the unemployment rate is low, and the economy grows, like Goldman Sachs predicted at 8 percent by the end of the year, I think Americans will want to return to responsible governance to Washington come 2022," he said.