​TEN GOP SENATORS ENDORSE INFRASTRUCTURE BILL INCREASING CHANCE OF PASSAGE WITH DEMS

The support of 10 Republican senators gave their support to a bipartisan infrastructure framework on Wednesday.  The $1.2 trillion proposal was first unveiled last week as a counter to a larger proposal the White House has been pushing.

This endorsed Republican support could be enough for a potential bill to get through the chamber if all skeptical Democrats back it.  In a statement Wednesday, 20 Democratic and GOP senators have now endorsed the newest proposal, which would not raise taxes on corporations or wealthy individuals.  The new plan would revamp transport-ation, broadband and water, but would not meet many of the Democrats’ goals in clean energy and social programs.

The new plan would include hundreds of billions in new revenue Biden has been asking for to address the nations’ crumbling bridges, aging waterways and inadequate broadband network.  This might be the best opportunity for President Joe Biden to reach a broad deal with Congress on a sweeping plan to modernize America’s deteriorating transportation systems.

In a group statement they said, “We support this bipartisan framework that provides an historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure needs without raising taxes. We look forward to working with our Republican and Democratic colleagues to develop legislation based on this framework to address America’s infrastructure challenges.”

Last week, a group of 10 senators laid out a broad framework. Those ten senators were Democrats Joe Manchin (WVA),Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Jon Tester )MT), and Mark Warner (VA).  Republicans were Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rob Portman (OH), and Mit Romney (UT).

On Wednesday, they were joined by 10 more Democrats, Chris Coons (DE), Maggie Hassan (NH), John Hickenlooper (CO), and Mark Kelly (AZ), along with Republicans Richard Burr (NC), Lindsey Graham (SC), Mike Rounds (SD), Thom Tillis (NC), and Todd Young (IN).  Also, Angus King, an Independent from Maine, who causes with the Democrats, endorsed the plan.

The proposal serves as the last sustained effort to strike a bipartisan infrastructure deal before Democrats move to pass legislation on their own. A smaller bipartisan group of 10 senators who drafted the plan has tried to win support on Capitol Hil but has not yet earned the blessing of congressional leaders or the White House.

A handful of liberals in the Senate have threatened to vote against the bipartisan deal, which say does not do enough to fight climate change or income inequality. If any Democrats oppose the plan, more than 10 Republicans would need to back it for it to hit the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation in the Senate.

Democrats have to balance concerns from both flanks of their party.  The most conservative Senate Democrat, Joe Manchin (WV), has stressed that he wants to pass an infrastructure bill with GOP votes.

Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), met with members of the Budget Committe Wednesday to start drafting a budget resolution and also a process for reconciliation, a parliamentary strategy that bypasses the filibuster process and allows a simple majority to pass legislation.  Schumer said he still expects infrastructure bills to reach the Senate floor next month.

Biden told reporters he hadn’t reviewed the offer of the bipartisan group as he boarded Air Force One in Geneva.  “I honestly haven’t seen it. I don’t know what the details are. I know that my chief of staff thinks there’s some room that there may be a means by which to get this done,” Biden said.

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