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A group of 10 Democrats and Republicans established what they called a “realistic compromise framework to modernize our country’s energy infrastructure and technologies,” according to a joint statement released Thursday by Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. The plan “would be fully paid for and would not include tax increases,” the senators added.
“We are discussing our approach with our respective colleagues and the White House, and remain optimistic that this can lay the foundation for broad support from both sides and meet America’s infrastructure needs,” said said lawmakers.
Senators tried to craft their own plan after infrastructure talks between President Joe Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va failed. still faced with the challenge of trying to win the support of the White House and Congressional leaders in making their bill.
Senators informed Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of the plan on Wednesday, and the Kentucky Republican was “open to it,” GOP Senator Mitt Romney of Utah told reporters Thursday. It is now unclear whether the package will be comprehensive enough to appease Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And Biden.
The White House has also faced backlash from progressives who do not want the president to abandon Democratic priorities in order to pass a bill with Republican votes.
Earlier Thursday, Senator Jon Tester – a Democrat from Montana who joined the negotiations – suggested that funding for the plan could come from several sources.
“Part of what worries me is maybe what we project on the numbers, on the payments, because these are not taxes. These are fees. These are funds. It’s different tubs of money there, or pots of money there, that we can tap into, ”he told MSNBC.
The White House has kept in touch with Senate negotiators as Biden targets an infrastructure bill as his second major legislative initiative. The president first presented a $ 2.3 trillion plan, but reduced his offer to $ 1.7 trillion during talks with Capito.
Biden has called for at least $ 600 billion in new spending above the baseline already set by Congress, Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana involved in the talks, told reporters.
Despite controlling both houses of Congress, Democrats face a complicated path to passing an infrastructure plan. While they can approve a bill on their own in the equally divided Senate through budget reconciliation, they must keep all 50 members of their caucus on board.
Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., insisted he wanted to pass a bill with the support of both parties. He could support a Democratic proposal himself. Manchin is part of the negotiating group.
The bipartisan House Problem Solvers caucus released its own infrastructure plan this week. The proposal would cost $ 1.25 trillion, including $ 762 billion in new spending. The group did not specify how it would pay for the investments.
Meanwhile, the House moved forward with a five-year, $ 547 billion surface transportation funding bill that Democrats could use to pass key pieces of Biden’s infrastructure plan. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Said Thursday Democrats aim to vote on the legislation as soon as the month ends.
Biden’s original plan called for a range of investments in clean energy, housing, schools and care for elderly and disabled Americans, which Republicans have all called unrelated to infrastructure.
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