Biden Announces Bipartisan $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
Biden appeared alongside a group of lawmakers, including Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and others.
“To answer the direct question, we have a deal,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “We have made serious compromises on both ends.”
The announcement came after senators worked for weeks to craft a package that would garner enough support from both Republicans and Democrats. According to a fact sheet released by the White House on June 24, the bill would be worth about $1.2 trillion and would make investments in “clean transportation infrastructure,” as well as “clean power infrastructure” and the “remediation of legacy pollution.”
According to drafts of the agreement, lawmakers sought $579 billion of spending above expected federal levels that totals $974 billion over a five-year span and $1.2 trillion if it continues over the course of eight years.
But despite the bipartisan agreement announcement, it isn’t yet clear if certain Democrats or Republicans would support it.
“They have my word. I’ll stick with what we’ve proposed, and they’ve given me their word as well,” Biden said. “None of us got all that we wanted. I didn’t get all that I wanted. But this reminds me of the days we used to get an awful lot done up in the United States Congress.”
Biden had also proposed a related package, known as the American Families Plan, which calls for another $1.8 trillion in spending on education, child care, and other priorities. During the White House event, Biden said he’s hopeful that there will be a compromise.
“We’ll see what happens in the reconciliation bill, the budget process, and if we can get some compromise there—and if we can’t, see if I can attract all the Democrats to a position that is there, but we’re going to move on a dual track,” Biden said.
Immediately following Biden’s announcement, some Democrats criticized the measure as being too small, as they sought a multitrillion-dollar package that would include more funding for climate-related initiatives and childcare measures.
The current deal is “way too small. Paltry, pathetic,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told news outlets. “It has to be combined with a second, much more robust, adequate package to be deserving of a vote, and I am very hopeful that it will be followed by another package.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also signaled that she’s not happy with the proposed infrastructure plan.
“We have to have the whole thing, not just cleave off a little piece of it,” she told reporters.
And some Republicans said the proposal would substantially increase taxes.
“Under the guise of ‘bipartisan infrastructure negotiations,’ a small group of Senators are actually paving the way towards trillions in new taxes and spending. This is a raw deal for the American people and every Republican should reject it, full stop,” wrote Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) on Twitter.
Hours after the announcement, Biden told reporters that he wouldn’t sign the measure unless the American Families Plan was also passed by Congress.
“Less than two hours after publicly endorsing our colleagues’ bipartisan agreement on infrastructure, the President took the extraordinary step of threatening to veto it. That’s not the way to show you’re serious about getting a bipartisan outcome,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the floor of the Senate.
But Portman, one of the Republicans who support the bipartisan agreement, said on June 24 that it’s important that Democrats and Republicans were “able to come together on a core infrastructure package.”
Manchin also praised the deal, saying it’s a “tremendous opportunity for us to show the rest of the world that we can still get big things done in a bipartisan way.”