March 4, 2024

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) is leaving after attending a bipartisan infrastructure bill meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., on June 8, 2021.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

After the breakdown in talks between President Joe Biden and the Republicans, bipartisan groups in Congress will attempt to draft an infrastructure bill.

But lawmakers are facing one of the problems facing President and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va.

Non-partisan negotiators in the House of Representatives and the Senate do not even come close to agreeing on how infrastructure investments should be paid for. An agreement to balance the spending could be the biggest challenge to reaching a deal as the leaders of Biden and the Democrats decide whether to pass a law with Republican votes or pass a package through a budget reconciliation themselves.

A group of Democratic and GOP Senators and the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus are trying to figure out possible compromises. Both quotas have an idea of ​​what they want to put in an infrastructure bill. Both have failed to agree on funding methods as Republicans oppose Biden’s plan to increase corporate taxes and Democrats oppose proposals to raise new consumer fees or reuse coronavirus remedies.

Tax increases are “off the table,” Senator Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican involved in the talks, told reporters on Wednesday. Admitting the GOP would not support tax hikes, Senator Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat who participated in the negotiations, said Wednesday that the decision on how to pay for infrastructure “in my view is probably the one hardest part is “.

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Biden plans to call lawmakers to develop infrastructure plans while he is in Europe for the G-7 summit this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. Key advisors will also meet in person with members of the Congress.

The bipartisan effort comes as the Democrats lay the foundations for the passage of portions of Biden’s $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. Psaki said Biden spoke with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., about the need to work on a budget resolution – which would allow Democrats to approve Biden’s Senate economic and tax policies themselves.

The House’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee, led by the Democrats, will also consider a bill to finance land transport over five years on Wednesday. As the legislation moves forward, it could become a vehicle for some of the president’s infrastructure priorities.

Schumer said Tuesday that the Democrats are pursuing a “two-way proposal” in the course of the bipartisan talks.

A Problem Solvers caucus plan released on Wednesday appears closer to Biden’s goals than the last Republican offer he turned down. According to NBC News, $ 1.25 trillion – including about $ 762 billion in new funding – will be spent on highways, roads, bridges, railways, electric vehicles, and broadband, among other things.

Biden has called for at least $ 1 trillion in new spending, above the baseline set in the existing policy.

Meanwhile, the Senate group, led by lawmakers such as Romney and Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Has not announced an overall award. But senators emerged from a meeting Tuesday nearing an agreement on spending on certain programs, Romney told reporters.

They seem further from a consensus on how to pay for the plan. According to NBC, the Solvers Caucus problem is aimed at discussing potential instruments with the Senate group to cover infrastructure costs.

Romney noted that Senate negotiators still have a lot of work to do to gain broader support for the proposal.

“This group is making great strides, but we have 100 senators in total, not eight,” he said.

Other disagreements could arise during bipartisan discussions. The Problem Solvers Caucus proposal does not include Biden priorities such as caring for the elderly and disabled Americans and upgrading homes and schools.

Some progressives in Congress have also warned Biden not to cut too much spending from his plan in order to gain Republican support.

MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., appeared to link the infrastructure talks with a handful of Democratic reluctance to use budget balancing or abolishing the filibuster to enforce party priorities. She tweeted Wednesday that Biden and the Senate Democrats “should step back and wonder if it’s worth playing pie with the Republicans” when there is no move to legislate to increase taxes on the rich and corporate Protecting voting rights and mitigating climate change is worth.

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