In a display of bipartisanship, Democrats and Republican senators advanced a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to improve America’s aging infrastructure. This development comes after months of political deadlock on a key program proposed by President Joe Biden.
Bipartisan Panel Agrees On $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
After months of tense negotiations, the US Senate managed to come up with a common ground to move the infrastructure plan forward. A panel of 10 senators from both aisles agreed to a $1 trillion package.
The agreement almost didn’t happen due to a number of sticking points over what the plan covers and how will America pay for it. In the end, both sides agree to move the program onward.
Soon, the group became confident enough to announce a deal was made. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) led the way in announcing the breakthrough. Afterward, the Senate voted 67-32 to move the infrastructure plan into a debate this week. This is the first formal legislative action made by the Senate for this particular proposal.
Infrastructure Plan Years in The Making
Only on Wednesday did an infrastructure plan actually move forward. Prior to the Biden administration, many attempts were made to pass a bill that will jumpstart the upgrade of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Several past presidents called out to Congress to approve spending for public works, but these fell on deaf ears due to disagreements on how to proceed.
However, some Senators cautioned that this is just the beginning of the discussions. “We still have a long way to go before we get to the finish line, but this was a vitally important first step,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). The Republican senator played a pivotal role in brokering the deal between the two parties.
White House Celebrates Progress
Meanwhile, the news of progress reached the halls of a jubilant White House. Earlier, Biden suggested a $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan that will get funding from tax increases.
The GOP immediately shot the proposal down. Thankfully, Biden’s officials showed their flexibility in finding ways to come to an agreement with Republicans. This helped broker the current bipartisan deal. In fact, the President seemed optimistic about the progress. He said that “I feel confident about it.”
True to Collins’ warnings, the upcoming debate can make or break the proposal. Currently, lawmakers still need to draft and finalize the actual bill. This lack of actual text caused concern among Republicans.
Senator John Cornyn (TX) said that the chamber isn’t ready to vote because the bill is “not ready”. Both parties still want to insert spending for pet projects into the draft version. This can severely test how durable the bipartisan panel is.
So far, around 17 GOP members, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) have given their support. Portman thinks the objectives will help make it popular. “It’s going to help with regards to our roads and our bridges and our ports and waterways, and also help expand digital infrastructure, broadband. It’s very popular,” he said.
Infrastructure Plan Making Progress
Whatever the outcome, the surprising progress of the infrastructure plan remains a welcome development. Just a week ago, Republicans voted unanimously to block the Senate from starting a debate.
In fact, many remained skeptical a deal will push through given the major disagreements. The bipartisan group kept at it, though. “This has taken a long time, longer than any of us expected,” said Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), one of the negotiators. “I think the country is yearning to see Congress actually function,” he added.
Watch the CNBC TV video reporting that Senators reach bipartisan agreement on infrastructure bill:
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