The agreement between Senate Republicans and Democratic leaders announced Monday morning that they will continue to work on a deal to fund the federal government through March 23, while also working to pass an infrastructure bill.
“Infrastructure” means roads, bridges, railways, sewers, water systems, electricity, gas, and other public works. It’s what makes the world work. Last week’s Senate vote—on a bipartisan bill to raise the federal gas tax by 12 cents per gallon to pay for some of those projects—illustrated why we should care about fixing our infrastructure: It can help make our economy more productive, create jobs, and help the environment. But it requires a lot of work. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Republican Senator Susan Collins (Maine) agreed to work on a compromise that would raise the federal gas tax by $10 billion over five years, with the hope that more Republicans would join their
WASHINGTON The Republican senator trying to reach a compromise with President Biden on infrastructure has proposed a $50 billion increase in infrastructure spending, according to the White House, a proposal Biden says does not go far enough to reach an agreement. The president thanked them for their efforts and goodwill, but also stressed that the current proposal does not meet his goals of economic growth, addressing the climate crisis and creating jobs, the White House said in a statement. The president and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) agreed to meet again Monday, and Biden said he would talk with other lawmakers to find a compromise on the infrastructure package. Sir, I want to thank you for your support. The afternoon conversation between Biden and Capito came at a time when Biden’s administration and Senate Republicans continue to differ on key negotiating points, including the size and scope of the bill and its funding. At the end of the conversation, Capito’s spokesman said the senator and the president discussed the parties’ proposals and agreed to talk again on Monday. Asked about the discussion scheduled earlier in the day, Mr. Biden told reporters: I am going to have an interview this afternoon and will be able to give you some information afterward. He did not say whether he expected a counteroffer from Ms. Capito, who Republicans say could come Friday. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden would also meet Friday afternoon with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D., Ore), adding that the president was open to meeting with other lawmakers from both parties who are working on infrastructure proposals. As negotiations drag on, Biden is under pressure from members of his own party. Moderates are urging him to compromise with Republicans and progressives are urging him to use the budget maneuver to pass legislation without Republican support. Some liberal Democrats in the House of Representatives said they were concerned that Mr. Biden would not be able to get the job done. Biden who made concessions they thought were too big. President Biden’s infrastructure plan includes unconventional projects, such as the expansion of some highways. What Democrats want for cities like Baltimore says a lot about the president’s goals for the next wave of development. Photo: Carlos Waters/WSJ If what we read is true, I will have a hard time voting for this bill – $2 trillion was already a compromise, said Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.) Thursday. President Biden cannot expect us to vote for an infrastructure agreement dictated by the Republican Party. But centrists, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D., Va.), urged Biden to continue working toward a bipartisan agreement and said he was unwilling to move forward without GOP support. I don’t think we should do this. I really don’t believe that, sir. Manchin told NBC News on Thursday. We must be bipartisan. During a meeting Wednesday at the White House with Capito, Biden said he wanted $1 trillion in new spending in the package, more than his previous proposal of $1.7 trillion. He also proposed several options to cover the costs, which did not include an increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, as he had previously proposed. Republicans call any attempt to raise corporate taxes or repeal the tax code Republicans passed in 2017 a no-brainer.
President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at Dover Air Force Base, Delhi, en route to Washington Friday.
Photo: Andrew Harnick/Associated Press Among Biden’s proposed options are a corporate tax of at least 15 percent on the nation’s largest companies and a redistribution of a portion of the Covid 19 relief funds approved by the Trump administration. Friday’s conversation between Capito and Biden will be the final test to see if the two sides can find common ground. Biden’s proposals were met with skepticism by some party members. Republicans noted that many of Biden’s proposals still amounted to tax increases, which they would oppose. Capito and a group of Senate Republicans involved in the negotiations unveiled a plan last week that would allocate $928 billion over eight years to improve roads, bridges, railroads and transportation systems. The proposal represents an increase over the GOP’s original proposal of $568 billion over five years, but only $257 billion of their last proposal crosses the baseline, Republicans say.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
Do you think a bipartisan agreement can be reached on the infrastructure deal? Why or why not? Join the discussion below. On Friday morning, DeFazio introduced a bill to renew highway funding with a five-year term and a value of $547 billion. The legislation provides $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety improvements, $109 billion for transportation investments and $95 billion for passenger and freight projects. Earlier, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved a $304 billion funding renewal proposal, which lawmakers see as a possible part of a broader infrastructure deal.