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Bipartisan group of US senators says they have reached an agreement on the infrastructure framework

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Bipartisan group of US senators says they have reached an agreement on the infrastructure framework

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WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of 10 US senators said Thursday they had agreed on a framework for an infrastructure bill that would not include any tax increases.

In a statement, the group of five Republicans and five Democrats said they were discussing their approach with their colleagues and the Biden White House, and were optimistic about gaining broad support.

“Our group … has worked in good faith and reached bipartisan agreement on a realistic engagement framework to modernize our nation’s energy infrastructure and technologies,” the statement said. “This investment would be paid in full and would not include tax increases.”

The statement did not give details of the deal. But a source familiar with the deal said it would cost $ 974 billion in five years and $ 1.2 trillion in eight years and includes $ 579 billion in new spending.

Democratic Majority Leader in the United States Senate, Chuck Schumer, said Thursday that he was open to considering a bipartisan infrastructure bill, but wanted to see it in writing, adding that he could also push for a follow-up measure. that he only has the support of his party.

President Joe Biden’s push for a $ 1.7 trillion package in Congress to renovate roads and bridges and address other issues like education and home health care faced a setback https://www.reuters.com / world / us / biden-ambitions-infrastructure – voting-guns-coup-washington-buzz-saw-2021-06-09 earlier this week when Biden, a Democrat, rejected a much smaller proposal tabled by Republican Sen. Shelley. Moore Capito.

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That left room for the group of 10 moderate senators from the two parties to come up with a new idea designed to generate enough support to pass the 100-seat Senate with the 60 votes needed for most bills.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell also told the group that he was open to their ideas, Republicans said.

Schumer said work is still progressing on two tracks: one, a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and the other, a measure that, if pushed to the ground, could be passed with just Democratic votes through a maneuver called reconciliation that passes. bypassing the rule that requires 60 votes for projects to move forward. Biden and Schumer have talked about a two-way approach.

SCHUMER: ‘I’LL LOOK AT IT’

“They told me verbally, things, I’ve asked for paper, I’ll look at it,” Schumer said Thursday. “But we continue to advance on two tracks. A bipartisan path and a path of reconciliation, and both are moving forward. “

Republicans and Democrats in the negotiating group of 10 senators had said they were making progress Thursday.

The group’s senators are Democrats Joe Manchin, Jeanne Shaheen, Kyrsten Sinema, Jon Tester, and Mark Warner, and Republicans Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, and Mitt Romney.

Collins previously told Reuters that the group had a good meeting with McConnell this week. “He certainly didn’t compromise one way or another. But he’s in listening mode, ”he said.

Manchin, a center Democrat in the negotiating group, told reporters that “things are going in the right direction.”

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Romney said there was also “general agreement” on a top-of-the-line spending figure, but it was not set out specifically. He did not specify the number, but told reporters that the expected package would be paid for, in part, by indexing the federal gasoline tax to inflation.

He and Tester also discussed a provision that could increase revenue by making the Internal Revenue Service go after tax traps.

At the same time, infrastructure-related transportation bills advanced at the congressional committee level.

On Thursday, a House panel of Representatives ended more than 17 hours of debate with a vote of 38-26 that authorized $ 547 billion in additional spending for ground transportation.

The Senate Commerce Committee was also ready to introduce a $ 78 billion surface transportation bill, according to sources.

DEMOCRATIC CONCERNS

Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, said Thursday she was encouraged by the bipartisan negotiations in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“We are seeing progress on multiple fronts right now,” he told CNN. “This is how a bill becomes law. It is a process with many steps, and we are encouraged by all the progress that occurs on these different paths simultaneously. “

But the bipartisan push was criticized by some Democrats who have criticized a Republican approach that limits focus to physical infrastructure and rules out tax increases for corporations and the wealthy.

The Senate is divided equally between the two parties.

Republicans have rejected the president’s infrastructure plan, which would address climate change, develop some social programs and pay himself by increasing taxes on American corporations. (Reporting by David Morgan, Susan Cornwell, David Shepardson, Richard Cowan, and Doina Chiacu; Edited by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)

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