Maryland Governor Larry Hogan leads a press conference after a non-partisan group of governors, U.S. Senators, and members of the Caucus for Problem Solvers of Congress attend an “infrastructure summit” at the government building in Annapolis, Maryland, United States, on April 23, 2021 had convened.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on Monday advocated a tighter infrastructure plan that would cut out the $ 2 trillion proposal put forward by President Joe Biden on a large scale.
The GOP governor also criticized the next phase of Biden’s comprehensive stimulus package, slated for release this week, which will supposedly include tax hikes for the richest Americans.
“We should separate all of these other family infrastructures they are talking about and all of these massive tax hikes for the rich and for businesses,” Hogan told CNBC’s Squawk Box.
Hogan, who hosted a two-day infrastructure summit with a bipartisan group of governors and lawmakers last week, said: “Rebuilding America’s infrastructure is a critical issue that we all agree on, and we all believe that this is a bipartisan one Should be effort. “
“We can agree to find that middle ground,” said Hogan. “The second set of things that the president is apparently about to reveal for the first time on Wednesday has really nothing to do with infrastructure and most of us feel it should be dealt with separately.”
Hogan has become a prominent figure in the Republican Party, primarily because of his criticism of former President Donald Trump. He has not ruled out running for the White House himself in 2024.
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Hogan’s comments came a day after Senator Joe Manchin – the West Virginia Democrat whose more conservative views give him an oversized influence on the politically divided Senate – issued his own call for a more focused approach to infrastructure.
“I think they should be separated because when you start putting so much into what we call a collective bill, it’s very, very difficult for the public to understand,” Manchin said on CNN’s State of Sunday the “Union.”
Manchin – one of the 27 political leaders who attended Hogan’s summit in Annapolis, Maryland – also praised a GOP-backed infrastructure counter-offer that is less than a third the size of Biden’s plan and excludes key points.
A recent survey by NBC News shows that Biden’s infrastructure proposal has been popular with Americans so far. The survey of 1,000 US adults found that 59% think the plan is a good idea, while 21% disagreed and 19% disagreed. The survey has an error rate of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Hogan told CNBC that the first step in the negotiations between the parties is to agree on a definition of the infrastructure. “There’s a $ 1.6 trillion difference between what the Republicans have proposed and what the Democrats have proposed,” he said. “That is really the main sticking point.”
When asked how much he will ultimately spend on infrastructure, Hogan said he would estimate between $ 900 and $ 1.1 trillion – about half the size of what the Biden administration is currently pushing.
However, the second part of the White House’s plan to overhaul the U.S. economy is expected to be priced at at least $ 1 trillion. The proposal could also include $ 500 billion in tax credits, a source told CNBC last week.
Hogan said attendees at the summit agreed with Manchin that lawmakers should only focus on a simple plan to address infrastructure. This includes “digital infrastructure and green energy and the power grid” as well as roads and bridges. He added, “We can agree to find that middle ground.”
However, Hogan also said the reported tax increases in the next phase are punitive, revenue-losing proposals.
“We should separate all of these other family infrastructures they are talking about and all these massive tax hikes for the rich and the corporations and put that aside for later debate while we focus on the infrastructure, which is what Republicans and Democrats agree on where we can find common ground and implement it, “he said.
“There is trillions of dollars in private capital ready to invest in infrastructure. So it’s not just about taxing the people,” said the governor. “It’s not just about raising capital gains tax and taxing the rich.”