July 28, 2021

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Biden and Senators Reach Broad Infrastructure Deal – The New York Times

2 min read

“There ain’t going to be no bipartisan bill unless we’re going to have reconciliation,” Ms. Pelosi said, a message she repeated privately to Democrats, after liberals warned against acting just on a bipartisan deal that jettisons the provisions progressives want most.

Still, the deal struck Thursday fulfills the promise of bipartisanship that Mr. Biden has long sought, and its authors were in a celebratory mood.

They had spent the last two weeks shuttling across the Capitol, meeting with Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council; Steve Ricchetti, a top adviser to the president; and Louisa Terrell, the director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. The talks unfolded after negotiations had collapsed with a separate group of Republicans led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, with Mr. Biden saying the G.O.P. was not offering enough infrastructure funding to meet the country’s needs.

“I think that this coalition, and now being endorsed by the president, sends a message not just to Congress, not just to the country, but to the world that we can do the big things — we can function,” Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, one of the group’s primary drivers, said in a brief interview. “We continue to be the leader of the world, and this is evidence that we are doing the work.”

The framework doles out money in large pots: $312 billion for transportation projects, $65 billion for broadband and $55 billion for water infrastructure. A large sum, $47 billion, is set aside for “resilience” — a down payment on Mr. Biden’s promise to deal with the effects of climate change.

But the path forward is complicated and politically freighted, given Democrats’ spare majorities in the House and Senate, which leave them little margin for error. Both the infrastructure legislation and the far more ambitious reconciliation bill must still be written and passed by both chambers. Democrats have signaled that the contents of one could dictate the contents of the other, and the votes required for each will be dependent on fragile coalitions of moderates and liberals who have disparate priorities.

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p class=”css-axufdj evys1bk0″>Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has proposed spending up to $6 trillion on a sweeping reconciliation plan that could include a Medicare expansion and other long-sought liberal priorities, but moderate Democrats have raised concerns about the scope.

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