Democratic, GOP House Members Pitch New Infrastructure Plan
(Bloomberg) -- A group of Democratic and Republican U.S. House members who are trying to keep alive the hope of a bipartisan infrastructure package said late Tuesday they had agreed to $761.8 billion in new spending over eight years.
Together with $487.2 billion in spending that Congress was already likely to enact, the total would come to $1.2 trillion, according to a House aide. President Joe Biden pitched a $1.7 trillion package in separate talks with a group of Republican senators, which concluded Tuesday without a deal.
The plan by the Problem Solvers Caucus emerged hours after Biden ended that separate line of negotiation, with GOP Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.
The Republican and Democratic co-chairs of the Problem Solvers, made up of 58 centrist House members, spoke on Tuesday with White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese about their efforts.
The co-chairs, New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer and Pennsylvania Republican Brian Fitzpatrick, are working closely with senators Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican, and Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.
Cassidy and Sinema are in turn part of a separate bipartisan group of senators that was working late Tuesday on their own potential compromise.
The draft proposal by the Problem Solvers, according to the House aide, would designate $959 billion over eight years for transportation, including $518 billion for highways, roads and safety; $64 billion for bridge investment; $155 billion for transit, $25 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure; $120 billion for Amtrak passenger rail; $41 billion for airports; and $25 billion for waterways and ports.
Some $90 billion would go to “asset neutral” investments, such as multimodel large investments including freight.
And $200 billion would be steered to energy, water, telecom and veterans housing, including $45 billion for broadband, $25 billion for electric grid and other green energy, and $14 billion for water storage in the West, added the aide, who was granted anonymity to discuss the plan.
The group has not provided details about how their plan would be paid for, and was described by the aide as working on a series of potential funding measures with partners in the Senate.
A White House official said Biden and Capito had called off their talks after the Republican and her allies refused to agree to higher new spending in the plan or detail ways to finance it. Republicans have rejected Biden’s proposal to raise taxes on corporations and high-income Americans.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Tuesday that Biden, who is leaving for a trip to Europe on Wednesday morning, would turn his attention to the bipartisan group of senators working on a separate plan.
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