Reported by ANDERS HAGSTROM, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT | June 24, 2021
President Joe Biden reached a deal with a bipartisan group of senators to pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, he announced at the White House on Thursday.
Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced Wednesday evening they had reached the beginnings of an agreement. The meeting, which included five Republican senators, five Democratic senators and several top White house officials, continued with Biden at the White House on Thursday.
Biden met with the group for just 30 minutes before emerging from the West Wing and announcing “We have a deal.”
The $1.2 trillion deal includes $579 billion in new spending, which will fund measures like expanding broadband access, addressing water shortages in the West U.S., improving public transit and more than a dozen other infrastructure projects, according to a fact sheet provided by the White House.
The deal also proposes several means of gathering funds to pay for itself, including a sale of the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve and the redirection of unused emergency relief funds from 2020. The bill also relies on the expected positive economic impact of upgraded infrastructure as a cost offset.
Senators at the meeting echoed Biden’s words during a joint press gaggle outside the West Wing.
“Today, we are announcing the framework for an historic investment in infrastructure,” Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman told reporters. “I’m pleased to see today that we’re able to come together on a core infrastructure package. This is not non-infrastructure items without new taxes…This was a team effort.”
“No one got everything they wanted in this package,” Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said. “We all gave some to get some…We are delighted to go back to the Hill and begin earning more support from both Republicans and Democrats to get this bill across the finish line.”
Specifics of the agreement are still forthcoming, but it is significantly smaller than Biden’s initial $2.3 trillion plan
Biden and Republicans have repeatedly gone back and forth on potential infrastructure deals, with talks stalling out a number of times. The Thursday deal may not be the end of the road, however, as some Democratic senators have expressed disappointment with Manchin’s deal with Republicans. The 10 Republicans he picked up with the plan may be counter acted by Democrats who drop their support for the bill. Many senators on both sides of the aisle have yet to see the specifics of the deal.