What You Need to Know
- Success also will hinge on whether Biden can assure progressive Democrats in the House and Senate.
- Sen. Chuck Schumer said Congress would vote on the budget resolution setting up the fast-track process in July, while leaving the subsequent reconciliation legislation enacting the Biden agenda for later.
President Joe Biden said he’s reached a tentative deal with a group of Democratic and Republican senators on a bipartisan, $559 billion infrastructure plan that would fulfill one of his top priorities.
“We have a deal,” Biden told reporters after the senators presented their agreement to him at the White House.
But he said the bill would move alongside separate legislation that would spend hundreds of billions more on what he called “human infrastructure” that the GOP opposes. “There is going to be a two-track system,” he said.
Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber wouldn’t consider the bipartisan deal without the accompanying legislation, which Democrats will attempt to pass through the Senate using the so-called budget reconciliation procedure that prevents a Republican filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had agreed to try to hold votes on a bipartisan infrastructure package and a budget resolution setting up fast-track legislation with the rest of Biden’s $4 trillion economic plan in July.
The 10-member bipartisan group announced agreement on a framework for an infrastructure plan late Wednesday following days of negotiations with key administration aides.
“We didn’t agree on everything,” Portman said, adding that the group also would begin reaching out to other lawmakers to build support.
The meeting with Biden marks a significant step forward in the effort to put together a package of infrastructure spending that can draw enough votes from both parties to get through Congress.
In addition to receiving Biden’s backing, the senators must get congressional leaders of both parties on board to assure support in the evenly divided Senate, where 60 votes will be needed to get the legislation passed under regular order.
Success also will hinge on whether Biden can assure progressive Democrats in the House and Senate.
They have criticized the bipartisan proposal as too small to meet the nation’s needs and they want a guarantee that their priorities are met in a separate, more expansive package that would use the fast-track procedure known as reconciliation to clear the Senate without needing GOP votes.
The White House argues that a bipartisan plan unlocks moderate Democratic support for more social spending in a later bill.
“We don’t have a lot of faith in, ‘I promise I’ll do this,’” Representative Pramila Jayapal, head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Wednesday.
One of the key moderate Democrats, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, urged progressives to support the deal.
“I would say please don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” he told reporters Thursday.
However, he said he won’t support a reconciliation package until he sees the details. Manchin called a $6 trillion plan floated by Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders as too expensive.