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Biden says he has concerns about bipartisan infrastructure plan

EconomyJun 21, 2021 09:46PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the administration's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and the vaccination program during brief remarks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos 2/2

By Trevor Hunnicutt and Jarrett Renshaw

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden held separate talks on Monday with two key Democratic senators about a bipartisan infrastructure plan and told them he was encouraged by the proposal but still had questions about how to pay for the bill, the White House said.

A bipartisan infrastructure plan costing a little over $1 trillion, only about a fourth of what Biden initially proposed, has been gaining support in the U.S. Senate, but disputes continue over how it should be funded.

Biden met separately with Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and "told them he was encouraged by what has taken shape but that he still has questions about the policy as well as the means for financing the bipartisan group’s proposal," the White House said.

Biden also told the senators that he was "focused on budget resolution discussions in the Senate," it said, an apparent reference to Democratic preparations to pass parts of his broader infrastructure plans opposed by Republicans using a procedure called reconciliation that requires only a simple majority.

There are 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats in the 100-seat Senate and Vice President Kamala Harris has the tie-breaking vote for the Democrats.

Manchin and Sinema have been noncommittal when asked if they would support a reconciliation bill.

Among other measures, members of the bipartisan group have discussed indexing the gas tax to inflation to help pay for the bill, a provision that Biden has consistently rejected.

"We still have some sticking points, particularly around how we pay for this," Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, told CNN on Monday.

Twenty-one of the 100 U.S. senators - including 11 Republicans, nine Democrats and one independent who caucuses with Democrats - are working on the framework to rebuild roads, bridges and other traditional infrastructure that sources said would cost $1.2 trillion over eight years.

One of the 21 senators, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (NYSE:GHM), said on Fox News Sunday that if Biden wanted a $1 trillion infrastructure deal, "it's there for the taking. You just need to get involved and lead."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday that Biden is expected to talk to lawmakers as soon as Monday, but she added that there's not many weeks left for negotiations before Democrats decide to move forward on a party-line vote.

Biden, seeking to fuel economic growth after the pandemic, had initially proposed about $4 trillion be spent on a broader range of infrastructure that included fighting climate change and providing care for children and the elderly.

The White House trimmed the offer to about $1.7 trillion in talks with senators in a bid to win Republican support in the closely divided U.S. Senate.

Psaki said on Monday that the White House has not ditched its plan for additional spending on items like free pre-kindergarten and paid family leave. She said the White House never saw the infrastructure negotiations as "one step."

"There is a reconciliation process that's ongoing, and that addresses and includes a number of the president's priorities," Psaki said.

Biden says he has concerns about bipartisan infrastructure plan
 

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Comments (9)
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Jun 21, 2021 10:43PM ET
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Seriously Biden has concerns about the infrastructure bill. I have concerns that he doesn't know what day of the week it is and he can't find the bathroom on his own
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Jun 21, 2021 9:51PM ET
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Biden will be a lame duck after midterms and he's also a 1 term president with no Democrat on the radar map for 2024
CHADWICK RICHINGTON
CHADWICK RICHINGTON Jun 21, 2021 9:50PM ET
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The USA is an empire in decline
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Jun 21, 2021 6:20PM ET
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The wealth the government takes isn't sitting in shoe boxes or under the mattress, it's wealth that's already being put to work in the economy, no matter who's it is  Government spending is just the government taking a bigger slice of the countries wealth and dictating how it should be spent, which is why it never results in a net positive outcome in the long run.
Joel Schwartz
Joel Schwartz Jun 21, 2021 6:20PM ET
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Hey man, you like roads and power plants and police and fire departments and hospitals and the military and…
Me comment
Me comment Jun 21, 2021 5:57PM ET
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Enough is enough go back to the $4 trillion, pay for it by taxing anyone making more than $500,000 and raise to 25% the corporate tax rate and limit the tax deductions so companies can reduce taxable income so they don't end up paying any taxes.
Mark Jones
Mark Jones Jun 21, 2021 2:42PM ET
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Biden wants to pay by f'ing Americans in the rear, Congress wants to pay by f'ing Americans in the mo.uth. Ultimately they will decide to go with both options.
David David
David9 Jun 21, 2021 2:42PM ET
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But the Americans just want it in the regular middle area...
palmer gossett
palmer gossett Jun 21, 2021 2:42PM ET
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spitroast
James Pattison
James Pattison Jun 21, 2021 8:57AM ET
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Not a single tepublican should go along with any more spending and sound the alsrm to an inflationary cycle that will ruin the wealth of anyone on fixed income, the middle, and lower wage earners
Joel Schwartz
Joel Schwartz Jun 21, 2021 8:57AM ET
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Pull up a chart of the M2 money supply. It went parabolic under Trump, not Biden.
James Pattison
James Pattison Jun 21, 2021 8:56AM ET
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Biden presidency will be worse than Carters
Bob Collins
Bob Collins Jun 21, 2021 8:22AM ET
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Why would anyone want to talk with Chairman Xiden? His cognitive decline finally became obvious to the whole world last week at the G7. The marxists that are actually running the WH should be exposed, not negotiated with.
 
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