BIDEN ANNOUNCED ‘DEAL’ ON BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE

In the East Room of the White House on Thursday, President Joe Biden announced “we have a deal” after a 30-minute meeting with the group of senators earlier in the day.  After months of negotiations Biden said the $1.2 trillion bipartisan package is a deal, but did warn he would not sign it unless it was passed “in tandem” with a separate budget reconciliation bill that invested in social infrastructure and other Democratic priorities.

An initial round of negotiations with Sen, Shelley Moore Capito, (R-WVA), the lead GOP negotiator who is seen as closely aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K), fell through earlier in June over disagreements about how to finance the package and probably more importantly, what counted as infrastructure.

A group of five Republican and five Democratic Senators met with Biden on Thursday and shook hands on the infrastructure Package that, while one-half the size of Biden’s initial American Jobs Plan proposal, would still represent the biggest investment in the country’s bridges in half a century, a historic investment in electric vehicles, and a significant expansion of internet access for millions of Americans.  After the conclusion of the talks, Biden told reporters in front of the West Wing, “We have a deal.”

The new bipartisan coalition, spearheaded by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA), includes 11 Republicans, 9 Democrats and one independent.  The coalition included a number of moderate dealmakers in the Senate.  This agreement signifies “breaking the ice that too often has frozen us in place, preventing us from solving the true problems of the American people,” Biden stated.  “There’s nothing our nation can’t do when we decide to do it together, to do it as one nation.  It also signals to ourselves that American democracy can deliver.”

“Time will tell if Biden is really serious about getting a bipartisan infrastructure bill passed through Congress,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), commented not long after Biden made his announcement.

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