Politics Bipartisan gang’s last-ditch infrastructure pitch under scrutiny
Biden, Capito to continue bipartisan infrastructure talks Friday
President Joe Biden will reconnect with Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on Friday to further discuss a possible bipartisan compromise on an infrastructure bill. Your browser does not support this video The two met in the Oval Office for just over an hour Wednesday afternoon to talk about the $928 billion GOP infrastructure proposal unveiled last week, but announced no major breakthroughs on how they plan to bridge their still substantive differences.
Lawmakers in both parties have spent weeks negotiating unsuccessfully to find a deal on infrastructure.
Democrats are ready to move on and pass a bill without GOP support, but a small group of Republicans and Democrats are pitching a last-minute proposal they say can attract bipartisan support.
Five Senate Republicans and five Senate Democrats announced the deal on Thursday, calling it “a realistic, compromise framework to modernize our nation’s infrastructure and energy technologies.”
The group launched early discussions with the White House and hopes the plan can become the basis of a bill that will pass the Senate with bipartisan support.
Senate group tries one last-ditch attempt at bipartisan infrastructure deal
A group of senators is making a last-ditch attempt at a bipartisan infrastructure bill with a key part of President Biden’s agenda hanging in the balance. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Susan Collins, R-Me., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., are the latest bid to come to an agreement on an infrastructure bill, which the White House has made its next major legislative priority. Cassidy tweeted Tuesday that Biden had called him to discuss the issue, with the senator saying any “infrastructure package should and must be bipartisan.” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, another member of the group, said Tuesday they had made “good progress.
But Biden is traveling in Europe and hasn’t signaled whether he will back the proposal yet. A White House statement Friday said, “Questions need to be addressed” about the plan and how it is paid for.
The president isn’t the only hurdle.
The measure leaves out top liberal wish list spending on “human infrastructure” and climate change mitigation. The bipartisan plan, which would be roughly $1.2 trillion, falls far short in both size and scope of Biden’s $1.7 trillion proposal.
Some of the bipartisan measure would be funded by indexing the gas tax to inflation, which would almost certainly raise the current $18.4 cents-per-gallon federal tax on unleaded gasoline. Biden and key Senate Democrats said they oppose an increase in the gas tax, but it’s not clear whether they would oppose indexing the tax.
Biden World on bipartisan infrastructure talks: Little harm in still trying
The White House sees some positive signs to the new round of negotiations. They also see little downside in letting the talks play out.The move to keep bipartisan negotiations going sparked a round of progressive anger Wednesday as liberals warned their demands need to be met, too, and that prolonged negotiations could hamper other big legislative priorities. But even if it were to move forward on infrastructure with just Democratic support, the White House hasn’t finished one of its most important sales jobs: wooing Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.
Liberal Senate Democrats are balking at the bipartisan proposal. They want Biden and Democratic leaders to leave the GOP behind and pass a big infrastructure bill using the reconciliation budgetary tactic, which allows certain legislation to pass with only 51 votes.
Democrats believe taking up one large package would provide leverage to convince moderate Democrats who may not support non-infrastructure spending in the bill or Biden’s plan to pay for it by raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
“Why let Republicans decide the size of an infrastructure bill when reconciliation is a perfectly legitimate process (used unapologetically by the GOP when they were in power) to do a bill that will actually make a difference?” Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, tweeted Friday. “It’s not cheating to use the rules.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to both please liberals and provide a path to passing a bipartisan infrastructure measure.
Bipartisan talks sow division among Democrats
Democratic lawmakers are splitting apart over whether it makes sense to continue negotiating with Republicans on a scaled-down infrastructure package after President Biden ended talks with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the lead Republican negotiator on infrastructure. A new group of Senate negotiators is looking to pick up where Biden and Capito left off, but that's not welcome news to progressive Democrats, who think too much time has already been spent trying to reach an elusive bipartisan infrastructure deal.
Schumer wants the Senate to pursue a bipartisan package on more traditional infrastructure projects and take up a second infrastructure bill that includes other spending, such as $400 billion to support caregivers and $100 billion in electric vehicle tax credits.
“It may well be that part of the bill that will pass will be bipartisan, and part of it will be through reconciliation,” Schumer said. “But we're not going to sacrifice the bigness and boldness in this bill. We will just pursue two paths.”
The bipartisan deal emerged this week after talks collapsed between Biden and Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. Biden said the GOP’s then-$928 billion plan fell short. Capito told reporters Biden pledged to agree to a $1 trillion offer, and she suggested the White House was
The latest bipartisan offer is more than $200 billion higher and includes the approval of key moderate Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican, touted the bipartisan agreement in a memo to constituents Friday.
On The Money: Democrats wary of emerging bipartisan infrastructure deal, warn of time crunch
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“This investment would be fully paid for and not include tax increases,” Romney said. “Discussions are ongoing with colleagues and the White House, and the Senator remains hopeful that this plan can garner broad support from both parties.”
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Impatient Democrats prepare to go-it-alone on infrastructure .
WASHINGTON (AP) — Patience running thin, Democratic leaders are laying the groundwork for a go-it-alone approach on President Joe Biden's big jobs and families infrastructure plans even as the White House continues negotiating with Republicans on a much more scaled-back $1 trillion proposal. A top White House adviser assured House Democrats during a closed-door session Tuesday that there would be a fresh assessment by next week on where talks stand with the Republicans.