United States President Joe Biden departs after speaking at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.
Samuel Corum | Bloomberg | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – Negotiations between the White House and a small group of Republican Senators over a bipartisan infrastructure bill have failed in the last few days, fraught with deep disagreements about what constitutes infrastructure and how much money should be allocated to it.
With no big business in sight, President Joe Biden reached out Tuesday to at least one member of a bipartisan group of senators who were quietly working on backup infrastructure plans.
Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., Tweeted that Biden had “made flood resistance and energy precautions” that would strengthen his state.
“Strongly support it [Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s] Efforts. Every infrastructure package should and must be bipartisan, “he wrote.
Other Senators working on an alternative include Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., And Joe Manchin, DW.V.
They aim to get up to 20 center senators to join their plan once it is completed. The legislators working on the proposal will meet on Tuesday afternoon.
While it’s unclear what a final plan would include, it could reportedly cost nearly $ 900 billion. The price would be roughly half of Biden’s last $ 1.7 trillion offer to the GOP.
Early Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said the Senators “are trying to put together something closer to what the president needs” than Capito’s offer.
While Capito Biden most recently sent a nearly $ 1 trillion offer, only a fraction of that would be new issues.
On Tuesday, Punchbowl News and Reuters reported that the talks between Capito and Biden had officially broken off.
But the leaders of Congress have not yet put their weight behind the larger group of senatorial talks.
As the most centrist Democratic Senator, Manchin will play an oversized role in any bill passed by the Senate, and so far he has insisted that all infrastructure laws be bipartisan.
His stance could force his party to adopt a smaller, bipartisan infrastructure package and then address other priorities like caring for dependent family members and clean energy in separate bills.
Biden is also in contact with Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, Democratic Chairman of the House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
On Wednesday, DeFazio’s committee will draft a massive re-approval bill to fund land transport and highways for the next five years. Considered a “must-pass” expense bill, the highway bill could be modified to include several planks of Biden’s signature infrastructure plan.
This is a developing story. Please check again for updates.