In his press availability earlier today, Sen. Mark Warner had a few interesting things to say, including:
- On the “bipartisan” infrastructure negotiations, Sen. Warner said “I feel very good about where these bipartisan negotiations have landed.” Sen. Warner said the U.S. needs to “get back in the game on infrastructure,” that currently we get a “failing grade” on infrastructure and is now a “competitive disadvantage” – a rail system that’s “second rate at best,” “airports that look more like third world than modern,” water systems “close to 100 years old,” etc.
- According to Sen. Warner, the “group of 10 of us” put together a package with $579 billion in new infrastructure spending over a five year period – “a record investment in infrastructure” by almost any metric, in Sen. Warner’s view. According to Sen. Warner, this package includes $110 billion for “traditional roads, bridges, classic surface transportation”; $47 billion for resiliency; “record new investments in upgrading our grid technology around energy technology”; “another $40 billion in this package would be towards other power generation sources to move…towards clean energy”; a $20 billion infrastructure bank/financing authority; etc. Sen. Warner says he could see 15-20 Republican Senators who would support this. Sen. Warner said these are all things Democrats should support, although it “may not go as far as some of my progressive friends would like, but the idea that they would shut down this record investment doesn’t make a lot of rational sense.”
- Sen. Warner said there would be a need for another infrastructure bill that would probably be with Democrats only. There are a number of other agenda items, particularly around climate change, that are in President Biden’s plan, that would be included in that “reconciliation” bill. According to Sen. Warner, “we ought to be able to do both” – the $579 billion bipartisan plan and the reconciliation plan. According to Sen. Warner, a reconciliation bill is “going to require all 50 senators” and “we have no margin of error,” so “some of my progressive friends trashing the work of this bipartisan group…doesn’t help us get to an all-50-person Democratic reconciliation plan.” Sen. Warner said he’s “all-in on reconciliation,” but “the one thing I could guarantee is if some of the progressives tried to take down the bipartisan plan, there would be no reconciliation package” either…”I’m trying to walk and chew gum…keep both of these pathways moving in a simultaneous manner.”
- On how to pay for this, Sen. Warner pointed to additional funding to the IRS to bring in $100s of billions or more in unpaid taxes.
- On President Biden’s meeting with Vladimir Putin, Sen. Warner said we need to push back on Russia’s “abusive behavior” and “bad actions” – interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs, violation of human rights in Russia, major hacks into U.S. companies, etc.