Republican senators negotiating within a two-party group of 10 senators say they have reached a preliminary agreement on the size of an infrastructure package and how to pay for it.
The new deal will use only a fraction of the $ 4.1 trillion investment that President Biden has called for and will not raise taxes, which could make it a tough sale within the wider Senate Democratic Senate.
Members of the bipartisan group warned Thursday that the preliminary agreement is still to be presented to the Senate Republican Conference and the White House to see if there is a broader buy-in.
“We have a preliminary agreement on pay-ups, yes, but it is among the five Democrats and the five Republicans. It has not led to our respective holdings or the White House, so we are in the middle of the process. We are not at the end of the process, not at the beginning, but we are in the middle, ”said Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyHillicon Valley: The bite gives TikTok and WeChat exposure | Colonial Pipeline CEO speaks again to Congress Thomson Reuters shareholders want review of ICE tapes on money: Bipartisan Senate group excludes infrastructure tax increases | New report restores wealth tax presses Romney presses Microsoft over missing photos of Tiananmen Square MORE (R-Utah), a member of the group.
Romney said there is also a preliminary agreement with the total expense number on the top line.
“I think it’s complete, but others may have a different point of view,” he said.
Dens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPresse: Joe Manchin Is Not Brave Against Senate Admits Bill to Provide Payments to ‘Havana Syndrome’ Victims On The Money: White House Sees Roads Forward on Infrastructure Despite Stopped Talks | The bite is fighting you share | The FBI seizes bitcoin ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline MORE (R-Maine), another member of the group, confirmed that there is a preliminary agreement, calling it a “significant” sign of progress.
“Among the ten of us, there is a preliminary agreement on a framework, but there is obviously a long way to go. I do not want to say that we have the leaders on board or that we have started negotiations with the White House, but I think that having ten senators come together and agree on a framework is important, ”she said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Said earlier Thursday that Republicans “have not given up hope” of a two-party infrastructure deal with the Biden administration.
“We have not given up hope that we will be able to reach an agreement on something that is really important to the country that we really need, and that is a major infrastructure bill,” McConnell said during a interview with Fox News.
“Yes, I think it is clearly possible. We have not given up on reaching an agreement on infrastructure … I think there is a good chance we can get there,” he added.
Other members of that bipartisan group were not entirely willing to say that they have accepted the total amount of expenditure until they have had a chance to reject it by several of their colleagues.
“We continue to get input from people. Nothing is final, ”said a senator involved in the talks.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) said she knew members of that bipartisan group were very close to agreeing on the broad outlines of a scaled-down infrastructure spending package and predicted that it would be similar to what she offered Biden in recent weeks.
“They were pretty close, I think, the last time I talked to them,” she said.
“I have not seen the details of their report, but I think a lot of what they have is a lot of what I had in terms of defining what infrastructure is,” she added.
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.), One of the Republican negotiators in the bipartisan group, said a key difference between what the Senate Republicans outlined last month and what the group of ten Democrats and Republicans put together is that it new package will include energy regulations that Biden wants.
“This will go back through committees, it will go through finances [Committee] for the payout, we still have to interact with the president, but as for the group, we have a final offer, ”Cassidy said Thursday.
The Louisiana Republican said the next step is to sell that bipartisan agreement to the White House and the Senate Republican and Democratic Partnership.
“We’ll have to have our colleagues again, no matter what party you’re in, buy into it,” he said, adding that the group should “make sure the White House is OK with it.”
Cassidy said the Senate group’s leading spending number equates to the $ 1.25 trillion in infrastructure spending framework revealed by bipartisan housing problem solver Caucus earlier this week.
The group’s plan would provide $ 762 billion in new spending over eight years.
“The problem solvers consisted of something like [is] pretty similar to ours in terms of top line and with the same categories and pretty much the same everything else, ”he said. “It’s all positive.”
Asked why Biden would accept the deal after rejecting Capito’s proposal, which was not drastically different, Cassidy pointed to a new energy section.
“We have an energy section in ours that in my conversation with the president said he really wanted to,” he said.
This story was updated at 14:02