Bipartisan Infrustructure Deal Reached
Last week president Biden ended negotiations with Senator Capito over an infrastructure bill. The President said he ended the negotiations because he wanted to focus on talks with more moderate senators.
After the President ended discussions with the Republican group, Senator Capito’s office put out a statement in part dsaying, “I spoke with the president this afternoon, and he ended our infrastructure negotiations,” adding that she and fellow Republicans had been under the impression their new counter-proposal met the president’s criteria that it total around $1 trillion.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the latest Rewpublican counter-offer, That Republicans increased by $50 billion last Friday to $978 billion, fell short of meeting the “essential needs of our country to restore our roads and bridges, prepare us for our clean energy future, and create jobs.”. Press secretary Jen Psaki added that the Republican plan relied heavily on infrastructure spending that was already approved.
After negotiations ended with Senator Capito, President Biden said that he has ramped up talks with a separate group of senators over the past two days. This group includes moderate Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
On Friday, the bipartisan group of Senators said they have reached a deal of roughly 1 trillion dollars. Even with this price tag set, the talking is not over as both sides will need to convince members in their parties to vote for the bill.
The bill itself focuses on physical infrastructure, upgrading transportation and waterways; these would cost $974 billion over five years or $1.2 trillion over eight years. In addition, there is a 579 billion-dollar increase in the baseline set by congress. Senator Cassidy said the President asked for about a 600 billion-dollar increase.
A large portion of the negotiations surround how they will pay for the bill. Senators have not announced how they plan to pay for the investments. The proposal “would be fully paid for and not include tax increases,” the 10 lawmakers who reached the deal said in a statement Thursday.
The 10 Senators all need to convince President Biden of the plan. In a press release the White House said there are areas that need to be explained before the president will agree to a plan. The President already said he will not agree to a plan that includes raising the gas tax.
While negotiations are continuing to go on, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on Thursday that Democrats were proceeding along “two tracks”; trying to craft a bipartisan deal, and preparing to use the reconciliation process.