President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the White House has struck an infrastructure deal with a bipartisan group of senators.
“To answer the direct question: We have a deal,” Biden said.
Biden, made the announcement at a White House press conference and was joined by Sen. Mitt Romney, (R-Utah), and Mark Warner, (D-Va). Biden added the bill focuses on “hard” infrastructure.
“They have my word. I’ll stick with what we’ve proposed, and they’ve given me their word as well,” Biden told reporters. “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.”
The infrastructure package will include $579 billion in new spending. $312 billion will go towards transportation, with $109 billion invested in roads, bridges and other major projects, $66 billion in passenger and freight rail and $49 billion in public transit. $15 billion will go toward electric vehicle infrastructure and electric buses and transit, which is significantly less than what Biden initially proposed.
Another $266 billion will go towards non-transportation infrastructure including $73 billion for power, $65 billion for broadband and $55 billion for water.
The bipartisan group spent weeks negotiating the deal as both sides of the political spectrum had demands. The package does not include an increased gas tax or electric vehicle user fee, which Democrats opposed. The package also doesn’t include a corporate tax increase which Republicans opposed.
Instead, the infrastructure proposal calls for increased IRS enforcement to ensure wealthy people pay the taxes they owe and reallocates unused state and local coronavirus relief funds. Public-private partnerships will also be part of the package.
Eleven Republicans and 10 Democrats are supporting the infrastructure package’s framework. Now, they’ll need to convince the majority of the Democratic caucus to get the 60 votes needed to pass the package in the Senate.
While Biden is happy to have finally achieved a bipartisan agreement on something, some Senate Democrats have expressed disappointment in the package, which comes in significantly under Biden’s initial $2.1 trillion package.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) told reporters “we have to have the whole thing, not just not just cleave off a little piece of it.”
However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have signaled they will support the infrastructure bill, but aim to pass it along with a larger bill that addresses more of their priorities.