WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — A group of bipartisan senators on Capitol Hill announced Thursday they reached an agreement on an infrastructure deal but there are still challenges ahead.
A group of five Republican and five Democratic senators say they reached a tentative deal that would spend $1.2 trillion on infrastructure projects. After her negotiations with President Joe Biden fell apart, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said she was hopeful the bipartisan group would reach an agreement.
“I’ve shared with them some of my experiences with the White House, I think I’ve opened the door for them,” Capito said.
The bipartisan infrastructure deal proposes spending $1.2 trillion over eight years on traditional infrastructure projects like updating America’s roads, bridges and rails. It would not call for new taxes except for indexing the gasoline tax to inflation. Unused pandemic funds would also be used to pay for the projects.
The issue is that while this group of mostly moderate bipartisan senators may have agreed on the deal, party leaders from each side — and the White House — have yet to sign off on the plan.
“I don’t think Mitch McConnell intends to offer good will to the president on this,” said Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY).
But some Democrats also seem unwilling to negotiate on their priorities. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Senator Jeff Merkley said they will not support a deal that does not invest in fighting climate change. Gillibrand said other priorities need to be included, too.
“From the hard infrastructure like rural broadband to the softer infrastructure like a national paid leave plan and affordable daycare,” Gillibrand said.
Since it’s unclear whether the tentative bipartisan deal will pass, Democrats may try to move ahead with their own plan as well to see whether they can get it through Congress, even if they have to try to do it with only Democratic support via reconciliation.