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Biden throws support behind $1 trillion infrastructure deal with GOP as Democrats press for separate party-line package

  • Biden struck a deal on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan with the GOP on Thursday.
  • “We have a deal,” Biden told reporters outside the White House.
  • It’s expected to encompass hard infrastructure like roads and bridges.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden has thrown his support behind a $1 trillion infrastructure deal negotiated by a Senate group of Republican and Democrats, a major step towards his goal of working with the GOP despite their opposition to the majority of his agenda.

“We have a deal,” Biden said Thursday after an Oval Office meeting with bipartisan group of 10 senators. “We made serious compromises on both ends.”

The Senate faction came out strongly in favor of the plan. “It was essential to show the Senate can function, that we can work in a bipartisan way,” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said. Other negotiators championed the package as well.

 

The framework was made public on Thursday after the White House meeting. It includes funding for physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Around $579 billion of it would constitute new spending beyond existing programs. That represents around a quarter of Biden’s initial $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan unveiled in late March.

The document outlining the infrastructure deal shows $109 billion would fund roads, $65 billion would fund broadband so people could have access to the internet, and $49 billion would go toward public transit.

It would build a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers along highways and in rural and disadvantaged communities. 

It would also increase audits on the federal unemployment payments that went out during the coronavirus pandemic to crack down on fraud and would beef up IRS enforcement to reduce tax evasion. Insider previously reported that the bipartisan gang of 10 was near agreement on a $40 billion investment in the IRS that could yield what CBO estimates as $63 billion in additional tax revenues. 

Additional funding for the program would come from allowing states to purchase unused toll credits for infrastructure and rerouting funds from the 2020 coronavirus pandemic response, among other measures. 

The bipartisan group of 10 lawmakers is evenly divided between the parties. GOP senators include Sens. Mitt Romney; Rob Portman of Ohio; Bill Cassidy of Louisiana; Collins; and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

The Democratic half is made up of Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia; Jon Tester of Montana; Mark Warner of Virginia; Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire; and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Biden said in a press conference after the meeting that the plan out Thursday represented “one half” of his economic plan, saying he wanted to get to work “right away” on other infrastructure proposals including childcare, education, caregiving, and clean energy. The two bills would move “in tandem,” he promised. 

“For me, investment in our physical and human infrastructure are inextricably intertwined,” Biden said. “Both make us stronger.” 

Democrats are poised to approve the follow-up economic package sometime in the late summer or early fall.

“There ain’t no infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference Thursday, referring to the larger package that would pass along party lines, likely without any GOP votes.

Read more: These documents circulating on Capitol Hill show Bernie Sanders’ and Democrats’ $6 trillion backup plan if Republicans reject Biden’s current infrastructure proposal

Many Democrats, particularly progressives, are pressing for quick passage of the separate economic package focused on Biden’s spending initiatives. 

“We know what we need to get done — roads, bridges, childcare, clean energy,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat of Massachusetts, told reporters. “That’s one package altogether.”

Asked by Insider about her preferred timeline for approving a party-line reconciliation plan, she emphasized “soon” and said July.


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