June 17, 2021

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House moderates unveil $1.25T infrastructure plan | TheHill – The Hill

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A bipartisan group of House moderates on Wednesday unveiled an eight-year, $1.25 trillion infrastructure plan designed to help break the months-long impasse over President BidenJoe BidenHouse Judiciary Democrats call on DOJ to reverse decision on Trump defense Democratic super PAC targets Youngkin over voting rights Harris dubs first foreign trip a success amid criticism over border MORE’s top domestic legislative priority.

The framework offered by the 58-member Problem Solvers Caucus calls for more than $959 billion for traditional infrastructure, including highways, bridges, rail, airports and waterways; $25 billion of that money would be set aside for electric vehicle infrastructure, including electric buses.

The plan also calls for $74 billion for drinking water and wastewater systems; $71 billion for the electric grid and clean-energy programs; $45 billion for broadband; and $10 billion for veterans’ housing.

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In the coming days, the group — 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans — will offer proposals for how to pay for the package but it is not backing tax increases that Biden and progressives want, sources said. About $762 billion of the package represents new spending. 

“The time is now for Congress and the Administration to reach across the aisle, unite, and boost investments in our surface transportation network that will move our transportation systems into the 21st century,” added Rep. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden suspends Arctic oil leases issued under Trump |  Experts warn US needs to better prepare for hurricane season | Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps Bipartisan group of lawmakers reintroduces bill to give inmates Medicaid access Police reform sees momentum ahead of George Floyd anniversary MORE (R-Pa.), the other co-chair. “Infrastructure investment can and will deliver real benefits to every American and additionally, has the unique power to unite us as a nation.”

The impact of the Problem Solvers plan remains to be seen. The group had played a major role in breaking the partisan impasse that had stalled a huge coronavirus relief package in December, leading to the adoption of $900 billion in new COVID-19 spending. 

The focus of the current infrastructure debate, however, has been in the Senate, where President Biden has sought Republican buy-in for at least a significant part of the $2.25 trillion public works plan he proposed earlier in the year. 

Those talks have been stymied by partisan disagreements over the size, scope and offset provisions Biden is seeking, including a proposal to cover much of the new spending by raising taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals — a non-starter for Senate Republicans. 

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Biden this week ended talks with Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoTim Scott: Could be ‘very hard’ to reach police reform deal by June deadline OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm On The Money: Biden ends infrastructure talks with Capito, pivots to bipartisan group | Some US billionaires had years where they paid no taxes: report | IRS to investigate leak MORE (W.Va.), senior Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and shifted his focus to working with a bipartisan group of 20 senators working on their own plan. That group includes Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDemocrats try to pin down Manchin on voting rights OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm On The Money: Biden ends infrastructure talks with Capito, pivots to bipartisan group | Some US billionaires had years where they paid no taxes: report | IRS to investigate leak MORE (W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm On The Money: Biden ends infrastructure talks with Capito, pivots to bipartisan group | Some US billionaires had years where they paid no taxes: report | IRS to investigate leak Biden talks reconciliation with Schumer as infrastructure negotiations falter MORE (Ariz.); and Republican Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Democrats’ agenda in limbo as Senate returns Bipartisan group prepping infrastructure plan as White House talks lag On The Money: White House sees paths forward on infrastructure despite stalled talks | Biden battles Dem divides | FBI seizes bitcoin ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline MORE (Utah) and Bill CassidyBill CassidyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm On The Money: Biden ends infrastructure talks with Capito, pivots to bipartisan group | Some US billionaires had years where they paid no taxes: report | IRS to investigate leak Biden talks reconciliation with Schumer as infrastructure negotiations falter MORE (La.). 

Problem Solvers leaders have been working with the new Senate group, which also appears ready to reject Biden’s call to roll back the Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts to help pay for the package.

“Bottom line, this is probably the hardest part from my perspective, is how you get it paid for,” moderate Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm On The Money: Biden ends infrastructure talks with Capito, pivots to bipartisan group | Some US billionaires had years where they paid no taxes: report | IRS to investigate leak Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican MORE (D-Mont.), another member of the group, told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday.

The new framework arrived the same day the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, headed by Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioThis week: Democrats set to begin chaotic three-week sprint Biden rejects new GOP offer as spending talks drag on Biden-GOP spending talks hit critical juncture as patience runs thin MORE (D-Ore.), began a marathon markup of a $547 million package to fund infrastructure projects over the next five years. 

That proposal, focused largely on surface transportation projects, is one Democrats are hoping will ultimately be incorporated into whatever package emerges from the talks between Biden and the Senate. 

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Complicating the debate for the White House, liberal Democrats have already run out of patience with the GOP negotiators, contending that Republicans are merely trying to drag out the talks to keep other Democratic priorities from being considered. The progressives are pressing Biden to abandon the bipartisan talks in favor of a massive infrastructure bill, which could avoid a Senate filibuster if Democrats tap a procedure known as reconciliation. 

“In case it wasn’t clear already, it certainly is now: Republicans are not going to do what needs to be done for working families,” Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care: Biden ‘very confident’ in Fauci amid conservative attacks | House Dems press Biden on global vaccinations | CDC director urges parents to vaccinate adolescents House Democrats call on Biden to do ‘much more’ to vaccinate the world Biden agenda meets critical crossroad over infrastructure MORE (D-Wash.), head of the Progressive Caucus, said Tuesday

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