As the White House and congressional Republicans work on trying to find common ground on competing infrastructure proposals – including the critical issue of how to pay for any package – an offset idea is beginning to surface that could be acceptable to both parties.
Democrats and Republicans agree that the country badly needs infrastructure improvements and that they could help create jobs. Democrats want to make corporations pay for it, arguing they should contribute more for the systems their businesses rely on. Republicans oppose tax increases, instead offering up higher user tolls or gas taxes and clawing back unexpended funds from the American Rescue plan and other measures— both of which Democrats argue would unfairly disadvantage the lower and middle class.
But there may be an idea that both can agree on. Rather than completely paying for the proposal with spending cuts or tax increases, at least two parties are suggesting part of the cost of the proposal be offset using dynamic scoring. That means assessing the economic growth and increased revenues generated by the infrastructure spending and using that to partially pay the cost.
- Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said this weekend, “I’m not going to raise corporate taxes to 28%. At the end of the day, I’m willing to not pay for some of the infrastructure spending because I think it over time pays for itself.”
- The Problem Solvers’ Caucus infrastructure proposal released last week says, “Congress should reexamine and consider the use of dynamic scoring by CBO on certain infrastructure bills.”
With Graham and House moderates saying the same thing— echoed by other members of both parties in recent times— it’s possible dynamic scoring could be thrown into the offset mix for any future infrastructure bill, whether partisan or bipartisan.