Members of a non-partisan group of senators trying to draft an infrastructure bill will travel to the White House Thursday to work out the details with President Biden.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Wednesday that Biden’s senior officials had “two productive meetings” that resulted in “progress towards a draft possible deal,” and the president has invited the group to tomorrow to come to the White House to discuss this personally. “
Members of the group of 21 senators said they had agreed the broad outline of a package with administrative officials and were optimistic that meeting with Biden would lead to a final settlement.
“Republicans and Democrats have come together with the White House and we have agreed a framework and will travel to the White House tomorrow,” Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told reporters.
“I’d say we’re very, very close and we’re going to do the public relations now,” added Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) as he left an evening meeting with the other Senators and the White House team.
âWe got our frame. We’re going to the White House, âsaid Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.). “We wouldn’t go to the White House if we didn’t believe it had widespread support.”
The Senate group focused its efforts on legislation that cost $ 1.2 trillion over an eight-year period, a far cry from the massive $ 4 trillion infrastructure plans originally proposed by Biden. The so-called American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan would finance roads, bridges and broadband internet, but also the so-called âcare economyâ of day care centers, hospitals and care for the elderly.
A key sticking point in the negotiations was how to pay for the estimated $ 579 billion in new spending. Republicans have rejected Biden’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, while the president rejected a GOP idea to link gas taxes to inflation.
“We have a good, good, balanced set of pay-fors,” Portman said. âThat was important for both sides. I will say in good faith we tried to get there. We didn’t agree on everything, but we could do it. “
The Senate parliamentary group includes moderate democrats such as Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). Manchin in particular has stated that he will oppose any infrastructure law that does not contain contributions from either party. Progressive Democrats in both chambers, however, have warned that an infrastructure bill that does not address climate change issues will not find support.
“This deal has 20 votes,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Told CNN on Wednesday. “Not 60 votes.”
The White House team huddled late into the evening with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, whereupon Pelosi said they were âvery excited on the prospect of a bipartisan agreement â.
Schumer said the leaders “support the concepts” they have heard from the bipartisan negotiations.
However, the couple also insisted that Congress consider both the bipartisan deal and the massive Democratic proposal, which is now set to cost nearly $ 6 trillion. This package would go through the budget reconciliation process, which would allow Biden’s priorities to be passed by majority vote without the need for Republican support to break the Senate’s 60-vote threshold.
Schumer said: “One cannot be done without the other.”
With postal wires