US President Joe Biden has struck a deal on a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure package to spend billions to modernize roads, bridges and broadband networks over the next eight years.
agreement with Bipartisan group of senators It falls short of the $2.3 trillion infrastructure spending plan Biden announced in March and does not address the $1.8 trillion in social safety net spending the US president proposed in April.
but it represents Biden’s great teacher, who pledged to use his decades of experience as a senator from Delaware to work with Republicans and challenge the polarization that has become endemic to American politics.
Biden announced the deal at the White House on Thursday after meeting with moderate senators who reached a compromise including… Kirsten Cinema, Democrat of Arizona, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine.
“We made serious concessions on both sides,” the president said, adding that it reminded him of “the days when we used to get so much done in Congress.”
Democrats and the White House hope to agree to the rest of their economic agenda using their slim majority in Congress separate from the bipartisan infrastructure bill negotiated with Republicans.
But Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday the legislation should be tied: the House of Representatives will only consider a bipartisan infrastructure package if Biden’s broader economic priorities — including tax increases on corporations and the wealthy — come first. Senate passed.
Biden described the infrastructure bill as crucial to addressing the chronic underfunding of US transportation networks and other utilities over the years, and Putting America in a better position to compete with China in the twenty-first century.
“There is huge investment going on with the autocrats,” he said in remarks from the White House later in the afternoon. “We have to move and we have to move fast.”
A large-scale infrastructure agreement has been a goal for Republicans and Democrats, even during Donald Trump’s presidency, but it has been elusive. Biden said he has been flexible in negotiations and is unlikely to make more demands.
“They have my word, I’ll stick with what they suggested. And they’ve given me their word too. Where I come from is good enough for me,” Biden said.
Some members of the bipartisan group celebrated the agreement. “It’s Infrastructure Week!” Bill Cassidy, the Republican senator from Louisiana, tweeted.
The infrastructure agreement, if passed by Congress, will come in the wake Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, which was approved in March as an emergency measure to stoke recovery as the country emerges from the pandemic.
The White House said the proposed deal includes $579 billion in new spending. When combined with the renewal of existing infrastructure financing, the total will reach $973 billion over the next five years, and $1.2 trillion over the next eight years.
The new spending will include $109 billion on roads and bridges, $66 billion for rail networks, and $49 billion for public transportation. Ports, airports and electric vehicle charging stations will also receive additional funding.
The biggest source of tension around the infrastructure package relates to disagreements about ways to increase revenue so that it does not increase the deficit.
Ultimately, the bipartisan group agreed to cover the cost with unspent money from previous rounds of pandemic-related stimulus measures, an increase in the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to enforce tax laws, and sales from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Republicans have proposed increasing the federal gasoline tax and electric vehicle usage fees in order to pay for the plan, but the White House rejected the idea because it would break Biden’s pledge not to raise fees on Americans who earn less than $400,000 a year.
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