WASHINGTON – Members of a two-party group of senators said they had agreed on an infrastructure proposal that would be paid in full without tax increases, laying out the plan for other lawmakers and the White House as they try to draft compromise legislation on the subject .
While the group of 10 senators did not disclose details of the plan in its statement, people familiar with the plan said they called for $ 579 billion over expected future federal spending on infrastructure. The overall plan, according to some of the population, would spend $ 974 billion over five years and $ 1.2 trillion if it continued over eight years.
The original agreement comes days after President Biden canceled a separate set of negotiations with Senate Republicans on an infrastructure plan instead of focusing on the talks between the group of five Republicans and five Democrats.
To advance in Congress, the plan would require acquisitions from a broader group of Republicans and Democrats as well as the White House. In recent days, some Democrats have indicated that they are skeptical that the bipartisan negotiations will result in a package that is large enough.
“We are discussing our approach with our respective colleagues and the White House and remain optimistic that this could lay the groundwork for broad support from both parties and meet America’s infrastructure needs,” said the group, which includes sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.), Rob Portman (R., Ohio) and Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.).
The White House did not immediately comment on the announcement from the senators.
Republicans said infrastructure investments would not be paid for by tax increases, but lawmakers have been close to how to fund the package, which is expected to be the most controversial part of the negotiations. Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah), another member of the group, said earlier Thursday that the group was looking at indexing the gas tax to inflation. The federal gasoline tax has not been increased since 1993.
The new proposal is also expected to be partially paid for by restoring funds from previous Covid aid packages, said Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.), who chaired the final round of negotiations with Mr. Biden and have spoken to members of that bipartisan group.
Mr. Biden said last week that he would be open to spending about $ 75 billion in Covid assistance approved under the Trump administration, but administration officials said he would not withdraw any funds from the $ 1.9 trillion aid package. $ Covid-19, passed earlier this year.
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Appeared on June 11, 2021, print edition as ‘Senators Advance Infrastructure Proposal.’