The White House and several senators announced Wednesday that they’ve reached a deal that would provide $550 billion in new federal investment into U.S. infrastructure, coming after weeks of talks.
In a statement released by the Biden administration, the White House and “bipartisan group” of senators announced an “agreement on the details of a once-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure” that will then be taken up in the Senate. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said earlier in the day that an initial vote on the deal could be held as early as Wednesday.
According to the statement, “The deal will create good-paying, union jobs. With the President’s Build Back Better Agenda, these investments will add, on average, around 2 million jobs per year over the course of the decade, while accelerating America’s path to full employment and increasing labor force participation.”
Lead GOP negotiator Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told reporters that “we now have an agreement on the major issues,” adding that lawmakers are “prepared to move forward” with a deal. Portman also said the deal is paid for, although he didn’t elaborate.
Portman’s counterpart, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), echoed his comments to reporters on Capitol Hill and said the group hopes to move quickly on the measure.
“We do expect to move forward this evening. We’re excited to have a deal,” Sinema said. “We’ve got most of the text done, so we’ll be releasing it and then we’ll update it as we get those last pieces finalized.”
The White House said the bill will be paid for by repurposing unused COVID-19 funds as well as “targeted corporate user fees,” more taxing on cryptocurrencies, and economic growth created by the infrastructure investments. The administration didn’t provide more details about funding.
Senators voted 67-32 late Wednesday in a procedural vote to take up infrastructure deal, with 17 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats.
Some Republican senators—including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)—weeks ago announced they would back away from the deal. Explaining why the bill shouldn’t be taken up, Graham told reporters this month that it’s not clear how the bill will be funded and Moran said he doesn’t believe the measure should be passed in tandem with a larger $3.5 trillion anti-poverty and climate bill, which was suggested by some Democrats.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), meanwhile, said in an ABC News interview over the past weekend that the House may not take up the Biden-backed infrastructure package unless the $3.5 trillion bill is passed in the Senate. Some Senate Democrats said the larger bill—which targets child care, education, health care, and the climate—should be passed via budget reconciliation that would allow it to be passed with a simple majority.
Former President Donald Trump this week called on GOP senators to abandon the deal because, according to him, Democrats won’t give up anything in return.
“So sad to see certain RINO Republican Senators go back and forth to the White House and continually get nothing for infrastructure or anything else,” the former president remarked in a statement, using an acronym for “Republican in name only.”
“When will they learn that they are being played with, and used by, the Radical Left—and only bad things can happen. Should have never lost the Senate in the first place, thanks Mitch! New leadership is needed, and fast!” he wrote, referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Update: This article has been updated with details of the Senate procedural vote.