Biden Announces Infrastructure Deal With Bipartisan Group of Senators - Rolling Stone
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Biden Announces Infrastructure Deal With Bipartisan Group of Senators

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed it will not come to a vote unless the Senate also passes a separate bill that includes progressive priorities like climate and universal pre-k

President Joe Biden, with a bipartisan group of senators, speaks Thursday June 24, 2021, outside the White House in Washington. Biden invited members of the group of 21 Republican and Democratic senators to discuss the infrastructure plan. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Joe Biden, with a bipartisan group of senators, speaks Thursday June 24, 2021, outside the White House in Washington. Biden invited members of the group of 21 Republican and Democratic senators to discuss the infrastructure plan.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

President Biden and a group of bipartisan senators have agreed to a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure deal focused on improving bridges, roads, and broadband internet access across the country.

“We have a deal,” Biden announced at a Thursday news conference outside the White House alongside a bipartisan group of senators that included Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). The proposed deal includes $559 billion in new spending.

“They have my word. I’ll stick with what we’ve proposed and they’ve given me their word as well,” the president said. “None of us got all that we wanted. I didn’t get all that I wanted. But this reminds me of the days we used to get an awful lot done up in the United States Congress.”

The Senate deal is far smaller than Biden’s original proposal — and is unlikely to include some progressive priorities. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a plan to retain progressives’ leverage going forward. She announced this week that the House won’t vote on the smaller, bipartisan Senate bill unless the Senate also sends over separate legislation that includes more funding to address climate change, healthcare, and education. That package would almost certainly have to move through the Senate via reconciliation, a procedure Democrats could use to sidestep a GOP filibuster and pass the bill with 50 votes.

“Let me be really clear on this: we will not take up a bill in the House until the Senate passes the bipartisan bill and a reconciliation bill,” Pelosi said at a news conference this week. “If there is no bipartisan bill, then we’ll just go when the Senate passes a reconciliation bill.”

Biden backed Pelosi’s gambit, saying that if only the bipartisan deal gets passed, he will not sign it. “If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” the president said.

With this plan, Democrats will have to carefully thread a needle to get both bills passed. They will need to gather enough Republican support for the bipartisan deal while simultaneously getting moderate Democrats to agree to trillions in spending on progressive initiatives.

Manchin, a moderate Democrat whose support will be key to pass both pieces of legislation, said he agrees the two-pronged approach is the only way forward. “Reconciliation is inevitable. There’s going to be a reconciliation bill, we just don’t know what size it’s going to be,” he told NBC News’ Frank Thorpe.

“We won’t get enough votes to pass either unless we have enough votes to pass both,” Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor Thursday. “When the Senate returns in July, it will be time to take the next step and hold the first votes on the bipartisan infrastructure bill on the floor of the Senate. Senators should also be prepared to consider a budget resolution that will clear the way for the budget reconciliation bill as soon as possible.”

Still, even with a bipartisan deal in the Senate, many details have not been agreed upon, including how to pay for it and its scope. “I think it’s important for all of us to maintain an open mind,” Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) told the New York Times. “Everyone has staked out their positions.”

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