New Agreement on Biden’s Infrastructure Plan

"Mitt Romney" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Late Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators declared they’d struck a cord on a significant infrastructure plan.

The working committee group (which includes five Republicans and five Democrats) said in a joint statement they worked in good faith to establish a bipartisan agreement. This bipartisan agreement is on a realistic, compromise framework to update our nation’s infrastructure and energy systems.

The organization claimed their plan was fully funded with no tax increases, while members stated that the gas tax would be adjusted for inflation.

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The agreement’s price has not been revealed. The plan would still need to be approved by the White House and Senate leaders, and it’s expected to cost less than $1 trillion.

The administration did not immediately respond to a comment request.

Biden’s $2.3 Trillion Package

Joe Biden started off infrastructure talks previously this year by announcing a $2.3 trillion proposal; this proposal would be partially funded by a corporate rate hike.

Republicans were outraged. This is because the raise would partially reverse a key element of their 2017 tax reform measure; Biden’s plan also included items deemed unnecessary, like $500 billion for elderly and disability care.

The Compromise 

The White House countered with a $1.7 trillion offer, while Republicans proposed a $978 billion plan.

Those discussions, however, reached a snag this week. Biden ended the talks, which were being chaired by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVa.), and turned to the bipartisan committee.

“Senator Chuck Schumer at Third Way” by Third Way is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Majority Leader Schumer told reporters throughout Washington he was informed of the agreement verbally; however, Schumer confirmed he was continuing with his strategy to hammer through an infrastructure plan using a reconciliation bill. This act would decrease the vote total in the 50–50 Congress from 60-50.

Schumer, as well as other Democrats, have indicated incentive to avoid a need for Republican votes in the Senate. However, Sen. Manchin stated that he will not support reconciling, putting Democrats shy of one essential vote.

Before the deal was announced, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Fox News that conservatives hadn’t abandoned optimism on the ability to reach an agreement with the Democrat on a massive infrastructure measure.

On NBC, Sen. Tester indicated the committee was very close to reaching an agreement. There are still some anomalies that haven’t been decided upon. However, Tester also added that he hoped to come to an agreement on infrastructure before the end of this week comes.

Sen. Collins also stated that there was a tentative agreement on the framework for an infrastructure bill. However, Collins also explained that there is still a long way to go.

The lawmaker noted the infrastructure agreement has not gotten presidential approval, nor has it gotten complete backing from Schumer or McConnell.