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Infrastructure Plan: Buttigieg defends tax hikes, non-transport proposals

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Thursday defended criticism that the Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan contains items Republicans argue are unrelated to infrastructure.

In an MSNBC interview, anchor Stephanie Ruhle brought up Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) having said the plan “appears to use ‘infrastructure’ as a Trojan horse for the largest set of tax hikes in a generation,” which McConnell argued would “kill jobs and hold down wages at the worst possible time”.

“It’s not Trojan, it’s American,” Buttigieg quipped. “And it’s not a horse, it’s a highway system, and railways, and airports, ports, and a lot of other things that Americans need.”

The former South Bend, Indiana mayor went on to argue that upping the corporate tax rate to “pay their fair share” is necessary for funding the infrastructure proposals, also saying that “business thrives in countries that take care of their infrastructure.”

Buttigieg had previously floated a “mileage tax” to bankroll an earlier version of the infrastructure plan, but scrapped it following much outcry.

RELATED: Taxes Anyone? Buttigieg weighs ‘mileage tax’ to pay for $3 trillion infrastructure bill

Ruhle later pointed out to the transportation secretary that there is a lot in the plan that Americans “absolutely need” but “wouldn’t be considered traditional infrastructure,” adding that the plan proposes a lot more than just roads and railways.

Buttigieg responded by arguing that railways in the 1860s and an interstate highway system in the 1950s weren’t considered “traditional infrastructure,” saying that both are at the core of the United States’ present-day infrastructure.

Some controversial parts of the plan include funds for electric vehicle development, care for elderly and disabled Americans, and building and retrofitting affordable housing, among other proposals.

Nonetheless, Buttigieg also said during the interview that he’s “not gonna give up on earning Republican support” for the plan.

Watch the full MSNBC interview here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Economy

TX Federal Judge takes ‘extraordinary’ step to ‘fast track’ ruling on Biden’s student loan forgiveness, forego trial

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cash stimulus for coronavirus

Just The News reported on an “extraordinary move” by one Texas judge who is prepared to cancel President Biden’s student loan debt forgiveness payments.

U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman, a Trump appointee, says he is ready to decide the merits of Biden’s plan and skip the preliminary injunction and customary trial.

“U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman had been holding a hearing on a request from the small business group Job Creators Network’s legal arm on behalf of two plaintiffs to issue a preliminary injunction blocking Biden from enacting the debt relief until the legality of his executive order was decided” Just The News reports.

However, Pittman declared “in a five-sentence, one-page order that the government and plaintiff lawyers had made all the necessary arguments and that a trial would not elicit further evidence so he is ready to move to a judgement on the merits of the case.”

“Having held a hearing on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction and reviewed the related briefing, the Court intends to consolidate as it appears that the Parties have presented their case and no evidence of significance would be forthcoming at trial,” wrote Pittman.

Pittman said he was prepared to advance the preliminary objection request “to a determination on the merits” and gave the Justice Department and plaintiff lawyers until Friday to file any objections to his plan.

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