The US administration's $2.3 trillion plan to put millions of Americans to work revitalising infrastructure while accelerating the nation's energy transition faces an uphill battle, with the Senate's top Republican vowing to fight the bill's passage and a leading Democrat pushing back on how to fund President Joe Biden's ambitious proposal.
Included in the jobs plan is about $800 billion for clean energy research and development, carbon capture and sequestration projects, and plugging of orphaned wells.
Generally speaking, an oil or gas well is considered abandoned or "orphaned" when it has been permanently taken out of production and the legal owner responsible for its plugging is not possible to determine.
In remarks following Biden's unveiling of his "American Jobs Plan" in Pittsburgh last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said there is no public mandate for the proposal, Reuters reported.
“I’m going to fight them every step of the way, because I think this is the wrong prescription for America,” McConnell told a news conference in Owensboro, Kentucky.
“That package that they’re putting together now, as much as we would like to address infrastructure, is not going to get support from our side,” he added.
US Senator Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat from West Virginia and holder of a pivotal vote in the equally split Senate, said Biden's proposed way of covering the plan's costs is problematic and he does not support the plan as it is written.
“Infrastructure is definitely needed in America, and we have to pay for it,” Manchin said on Monday in an interview with West Virginia's MetroNews Talkline podcast.
“We can’t continue to throw caution to the wind, and both sides — Democrats and Republicans, both — have been irresponsible with their financial responsibilities that we have for our country and our future generations.”
An overhaul of the nation's tax laws — notably increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and the global minimum tax on corporations from 13% to 21% — is proposed to fund the plan.
“Let’s collect what we should,” Manchin said. “I think corporate should have been 25%. Other than that, basically looking at all the loopholes and money that’s uncollected.”
Manchin warned the bill is "not going anywhere" if he does not vote for it, adding that there are "six or seven other Democrats who feel very strongly about this".
The top corporate tax rate went from 35% to 21% in the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Manchin voted against the measure.