President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of 21 senators met at the White House Thursday, June 24, to hammer out an agreement on what they’re calling the framework to an infrastructure deal. No one got everything they wanted, as each side had to give some for the compromise, but the senators were reportedly smiling on the way out – so they, at least, must feel it went well. Perhaps the most concerning news for those who prefer a more fiscally restrained government is Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) calling it the “largest infrastructure package in U.S. history.”
President Biden had invited the lawmakers to meet with him after a tentative agreement was reached Wednesday in talks with administration aides. The initial offering was a $953 billion plan, but that was then pared down to $559 billion. The somewhat lighter framework is reported to have “rare bipartisan backing.” Some are hoping this will open the door to Biden’s much larger $4 trillion proposal, but it’s unclear just how much of the Senate will actually go for it, or whether it will make any difference to Biden’s pet project.
Many Republicans will want to trim that even more, and progressives likely won’t be happy that it doesn’t include the full wish list. In fact, that could be the nail in the coffin, so to speak, of this bipartisan bill. Even if the Senate passes it, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has declared it dead in the water without the much larger reconciliation bill including progressive priorities. “There ain’t going to be an infrastructure bill unless we have the reconciliation bill passed by the United States Senate,” she declared.
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