Infrastructure bill: ‘Breakthrough’ in talks between WH, bipartisan group of senators

Infrastructure bill: ‘Breakthrough’ in talks between WH, bipartisan group of senators


It seems now all they have to do is dot the I’s and cross the T’s.

Senior White House officials met twice with a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to discuss the framework of a massive infrastructure bill and made enough progress to warrant another meeting Thursday at the White House.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is part of the bipartisan group, told reporters after one of the meetings that there is a “framework of agreement on a bipartisan infrastructure package.”

She warned that there are still details to be worked out.

The group would not go into specifics about what was discussed but an earlier framework called for a $953 billion infrastructure plan, with about $559 billion in new spending. The tentative framework dipped by $20 billion after a shift in funds for broadband internet, a person familiar with the proposal, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press. 

The president in March outlined a $2.3 trillion plan to re-engineer the nation’s infrastructure in what he billed as “a once-in-a-generation investment in America”

Biden also described it as part of his effort to compete with China.

Republicans bristled at the idea to pay for the bill by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. Progressives want Biden to go bold and urged the passage of comprehensive legislation with just Democrat support by way of budget reconciliation, if necessary, and to stop holding out hope for a bipartisan deal with Republicans. 

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said the White House officials agreed on the deal and it just needs the finishing touches. He said more details will be released later Thursday.

“The framework was…everyone agreed in that room on the framework,” he said.

The New York Times reported that the officials from the White House included Steve Ricchetti, a top adviser; Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council; and Louisa Terrell, director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., ran out of the meeting and declared that a framework was in play.

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“We have a framework—meeting at the White House tomorrow,” he later tweeted.

The bill’s framework includes billions for roads, bridges, railroads, airports and internet broadband. The Times, citing a source, reported that middle-class Americans will not see their taxes raised (a promise from Biden) and Trump-era business tax cuts will not be reversed. 

Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich and the Associated Press contributed to this report



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