Non-partisan Senate group is getting nearer to the deal
Senators from both parties have struck an infrastructure deal that they want to sell as a plan that can come with bipartisan support from Congress.
A group of 10 Democrats and Republicans have struck a “realistic compromise framework to modernize our country’s infrastructure and energy technologies,” according to a joint statement released Thursday by Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. The plan “would be paid in full and would not include tax increases,” added the senators.
“We are discussing our approach with our respective colleagues and the White House and remain optimistic that this can lay the foundation for gaining broad support from both parties and meeting America’s infrastructure needs,” the legislature said.
The Senators tried to work out their own plan after the infrastructure talks between President Joe Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va., failed. While the 10 lawmakers have passed a deal, they still face the challenge of winning the support of the White House and congressional leaders to pass their bill.
Senators briefed minority leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday of the plan, and the Kentucky Republican was “open” to it, Utah GOP Senator Mitt Romney told reporters Thursday. It is now unclear whether the package will be comprehensive enough to appease Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Biden.
“The President appreciates the work of the Senators in driving important investments that we need to create good jobs, prepare for our clean energy future, and compete in the global economy,” said White House Deputy Spokesman Andrew Bates , on Thursday evening in a statement. “Questions need to be addressed, particularly the details of both the policy and payment, among other things.”
Bates said the White House will work with the group on a way forward in the coming days
The White House is facing a backlash from progressives who don’t want the president to give up Democratic priorities in order to pass a law with Republican votes.
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While the senators said they had agreed on the delicate issue of funding infrastructure, funding methods could still divide lawmakers. Biden and the Democrats have called for the corporate tax rate to be raised to offset investment, but Republicans have announced they will not reverse their 2017 tax cuts. The White House wants to raise the corporate tax rate from the current 21% to at least 25%.
Earlier Thursday, Senator Jon Tester – a Montana Democrat who joined the negotiations – suggested that funding for the plan could come from multiple sources.
“Part of my concern is that we might be projecting onto the numbers, onto the payouts, because it’s not taxes. It’s fees. There are funds out there or pots of money out there that we can draw from, “he told MSNBC.
The White House has stayed in touch with the Senate negotiators as Biden seeks an infrastructure bill as the second major legislative initiative. The president initially put out a $ 2.3 trillion plan but reduced its offer to $ 1.7 trillion during talks with Capito.
Biden has called for at least $ 600 billion in new spending, above the baseline already set by Congress, Senator Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican involved in the talks, told reporters.
Despite controlling both houses of Congress, the Democrats face a complicated road to getting an infrastructure plan through. While in the Senate, which is divided on equal terms, they can independently pass a bill through a budget comparison, they have to keep all 50 members of their caucus on board.
Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., has insisted that he wants to pass a law with the support of both parties. He could hold out a democratic proposal on his own. Manchin is part of the negotiating group.
The bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus released its own infrastructure plan this week. The proposal would cost $ 1.25 trillion, including $ 762 billion in new spending. The corporation didn’t say how it would pay for the investment.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has tabled a five-year plan to finance $ 547 billion in land transportation that could help the Democrats pass key parts of Biden’s infrastructure plan. House majority leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Said Thursday that Democrats intend to vote on the bill by the end of the month.
Biden’s original plan saw a series of investments in clean energy, homes, schools, and care for elderly and disabled Americans, all of which were named Republicans with no infrastructure related.
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