While much lower than his $2 trillion original plan, Biden did manage to get a bipartisan group to hear him out. For the next phase, the bipartisan group will have to get the rest of the Republicans to agree with them.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal
Biden and Democratic leaders said that his total $4 billion economic plan hinges on many elements. Specifically, advancing the infrastructure phase that covers transportation, water and broadband are the first of the many steps needed.
The two-track process requires a series of delicate negotiations to gather support for both the bipartisan plan and a separate Democratic proposal. Even if done, it doesn’t guarantee safe passage in an evenly split Senate and a narrow Democratic majority in the House.
Meanwhile, Biden is happy with what he can get. “What we agreed on today is what we could agree on. The physical infrastructure. There’s no agreement on the rest,” he said. The President also indicated that he won’t sign the bipartisan deal into law if the rest of his agenda won’t pass as well. In addition, Biden said that “If this is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it.”
$1.2 Trillion Spending In Infrastructure
The bipartisan infrastructure deal involves an initial spend of $579 billion above federal levels. Over five years, the federal government expects to increase the spending to $973 billion, even up to $1.2 trillion if it reaches eight years.
As a result, the government will invest in improving the national electric grid, transportation systems, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.
To pay for the funding the government can repurpose existing federal funds and encourage private-public partnerships. In addition, the Internal Revenue Service will enhance its enforcement of tax laws to ensure that companies and individuals pay their correct taxes. Another proposal points to collecting revenue from sales of strategic petroleum reserve and wireless-spectrum auction sales.
Bipartisan Deal Emerges From The White House
After emerging from the White House meeting, participants of the White House meeting announced the deal they just made. Both Republicans and Democrats agreed that this is proof that bipartisan progress is still possible in a polarized Washington.
“We’ve agreed on the price tag, the scope, and how to pay for it,” said Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) on Thursday. “It was not easy to get agreement on all three, but it was essential,” she added.
Additionally, Biden had to market his infrastructure plan as critical for US efforts to remain competitive globally. “We’re in a race with China and the rest of the world for the 21st century. This agreement signals to the world that we can function, deliver and do significant things,” he added.
It’s Not Over Yet
Even as the group of Republicans and Democrats managed to close their bipartisan infrastructure deal, passing the legislation means succeeding on two fronts. The first move requires Republican support to move the bill into law. Then, the second more difficult one is rallying Democrats over the second economic program.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the Senate will move forward with the bipartisan bill. At the same time, they will push for an even larger bill. This latter will focus on spending for education, healthcare, and anti-poverty efforts.
If needed, the Democrats will ignore the 60-vote requirements and pass the legislation through budget reconciliation. Already, cracks are showing. Biden wants to commit to passing an additional package through a dual-track.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the House won’t take up the bipartisan agreement until the Senate approves a package through reconciliation.“I said there won’t be an infrastructure bill unless we have a reconciliation bill, plain and simple,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
Watch the ABC News video reporting that Biden, a bipartisan group of senators reach a deal on infrastructure bill:
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