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'Open' to using reconciliation process to pass infrastructure bill: Sen. Luján

·Chief Political Correspondent
·2 min read
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  • Ben Ray Luján
    U.S. Senator from New Mexico
  • Joe Biden
    Joe Biden
    46th and current president of the United States

The Biden administration is reportedly preparing to recommend up to $3 trillion in new spending, as part of a long-term economic recovery plan. The proposal would be split into two bills, according to the New York Times.

The plan is expected to include a large investment in the nation's infrastructure, which President Biden has long said would be part of his recovery plan, after the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan was signed into law.

"There's no greater return than investing in the American people and investment in infrastructure," said Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D., N.M.) in an interview with Yahoo Finance Live. "If the economy does not recover and rebound, we all know that the economic effects are devastating and will cost us more in the long run."

Not a single Republican voted for Biden's massive relief bill, and many are already raising concerns about how to pay for infrastructure projects. While Biden and Democratic leaders have said they'd prefer the infrastructure push to be bipartisan, Democratic lawmakers acknowledge they may move ahead without Republican support.

"I'm open to every tool that's on the table, including budget reconciliation," said Luján. "That's only one option. There's nothing preventing Democratic and Republican members of the House and the Senate to come together and work to make investments in the United States of America."

Details of the infrastructure plan and how to pay for it are still in the works, but Biden has previously said he'd like to increase the corporate tax rate and make the wealthiest Americans pay more in taxes. Republicans have generally opposed those plans.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) told reporters last week he expects the infrastructure bill to be a "Trojan horse" for tax increases.

"My suspicion is they'll try and jam everything they can into that bill and call it an infrastructure bill," said McConnell.

Democrats are pushing for a "landmark" infrastructure package that tackles traditional projects like roads and bridges, while also investing in efforts to fight climate change and expand broadband access.

"We should not have any gaps when it comes to people getting connected to the internet — in a country as strong as ours," said Luján. "We need to get 100% conductivity in America."

Jessica Smith is chief political correspondent for Yahoo Finance, based in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter at @JessicaASmith8.

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