“The point is not to go out and incur new and additional debt,” Mr. Toomey said. He rejected the Democratic push to undo key elements of the tax overhaul that Republicans muscled through in 2017, arguing that Congress would not improve the national economy “by ruining the tax reform.”
Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader in the House, said that he had not seen the Senate proposal, but that his conference would be preparing its own infrastructure plan. Ms. Capito said the group sent the proposal to the White House shortly before making it public.
Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia and a crucial swing vote who has said he wants any infrastructure package to be bipartisan, told reporters on Thursday that the Republican plan was “basically a negotiating starting point.”
But even before Republicans formally unveiled it, most other Democrats were panning the proposal.
“It goes nowhere near what has to be done to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and the funding is totally regressive and anti-working class,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent and chairman of the Budget Committee. “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, we’ve got to ask the wealthy and large corporations to pay their fair share, not demand more taxes on the middle class and working families.”
Mr. Biden and his team have said repeatedly that they hope to find bipartisan consensus on infrastructure this year. That includes both Mr. Biden’s existing plan and his forthcoming American Families Plan, which will center on “human infrastructure” spending like education and child care.
White House officials say they are open to breaking those proposals into smaller pieces that could pass with 10 or more Republicans joining Democrats in the Senate. Such a compromise could start with a bipartisan bill aimed at improving American competitiveness with China, which includes $100 billion in research and development spending akin to some provisions in Mr. Biden’s jobs plan. Such a slimmed-down bill could move through the Senate in the coming weeks. Some officials are also hopeful that lawmakers could pass a bipartisan highway bill, which would accomplish some of Mr. Biden’s transportation goals.
But many officials view significant compromise as unlikely, and they say Mr. Biden is unlikely to be satisfied with incremental spending agreements. That is why Democrats are also preparing to move some or most of Mr. Biden’s agenda through the budget reconciliation process if necessary, including his plans to combat climate change and his tax increases on corporations and high earners.