Deal or no deal? Confusion rules Senate infrastructure talks

Some senators claimed their group made significant headway, others said they doubt a bipartisan deal will happen.

6/11/2021 12:00:00 AM

Some senators claim major progress on infrastructure talks while others are skeptical a deal is in hand — painting a confusing picture on the status of a deal as they left D.C. for the weekend

Some senators claimed their group made significant headway, others said they doubt a bipartisan deal will happen.

Link CopiedSenators painted a confusing picture on the status of infrastructure talks as they left D.C. for the weekend, with some claiming major progress and others skeptical a deal is in hand.Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a member of a bipartisan negotiating group, said talks are “in the middle stages” but that he did not expect a deal before the Senate left Thursday. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said the centrists don’t have an agreement but “we might,” listing remaining and long-held disagreements over spending numbers and how to pay for it.

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“For some people it’s going to be plenty, for others it’s not going to be near enough. There’s going to be challenges for Republicans and Democrats,” Tester said. “The words [Republicans] use are: we have a general, total agreement."The negotiating crew of 10 run by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), has not finalized an agreement yet, according to sources in both parties. But they believe they are nearing a framework they can present to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Both leaders have kept track of recent talks.

The latest round of talks are perhaps the last chance for a bipartisan agreement before Democrats sideline Republicans and take a unilateral approach through budget reconciliation. Talks between Biden and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) officially fell apart on Tuesday, though they'd been crumbling for weeks as Republicans and Biden remained hundreds of billions apart in spending and never agreed on a way to pay for it.

The senators in the group were mum on the details, though sources close to the negotiations said the number is still around $900 billion over several years, with $500 billion in new spending. Proposals to pay for the package include indexing the gas tax to inflation and using unused Covid money. Some Democrats, such as Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), have dismissed raising the gas tax when the GOP is resisting more progressive tax increases on the wealthy.

One source close to the negotiations described the group’s strategy as a “bottom-up approach” and that “the top line will come from that.” But the source did not set a specific deadline to reach a deal.Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a close McConnell adviser, said the talks “have promise but it’s a work in progress.” And Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who participated in the most recent GOP negotiations with the Biden administration, expressed skepticism.

“The advantage of the other group Shelley [Moore Capito] was working with was that it had structure. You had committee staff, those ranking members could probably bring most of their members," Blunt said, adding he'd "be pleased to be surprised" but that he expected negotiations would end with Democrats plowing forward without bipartisan support.

President Joe Biden has sought a minimum of $1 trillion in new spending in previous talks with Republicans and progressives have grown more vocal about keeping climate and spending priorities in the plans. Biden is overseas, complicating the consummation of a global agreement between Senate leaders, the rank-and-file and the White House.

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he believed “things are moving in the right direction” but declined to otherwise characterize the state of play. Nonetheless, he was beaming as he left the Senate chamber for midday votes.The negotiations come as progressives are growing increasingly impatient with the infrastructure talks and are urging Democrats to go it alone, citing the dwindling days on the legislative calendar and the crush of other items on their agenda.

"It makes no sense," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said of the current state of bipartisan talks. "It’s not going to change what Republicans have been very clear about... stopping any progress by the Biden administration."

Sarah Ferris contributed to this report. Read more: POLITICO »

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Regular people work on Fridays and begin the weekend on Saturday. The framework would be a complete capitulation by JoeBiden and Dems, and I can’t believe it will happen. But reconciliation? The article acts as if it’s a given, ignoring Sen_JoeManchin will kill any Dem infrastructure that doesn’t have LeaderMcConnell approval.

One of the real problems in the negotiations is that the original 'infrastructure' bill didn't have that much infrastructure in it. 😆a nwo member baphomet gave a blow job too,(head swollen) streets been making fun of for years after seeing his before&after photos The Republicans will not allow the infrastructure to happen because that would interfere with their obstruction plan

No deal It’s time to move on. It’s taking too long. Listen to Chairman Wyden on what to do. infrastructure hmmm… for the weekend? Four day work week? I see… Republicans won’t allow it under any circumstances.

Senate group tries one last-ditch attempt at bipartisan infrastructure dealPresident Biden and White House staff are in talks with the legislators in an attempt to agree to a bill with Republican support.

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