“We had a really good meeting and to answer your direct question, we have a deal,” Biden announced, standing with the group of senators Biden met briefly with the group to seal his support for the deal after the White House announced a framework deal for a bipartisan agreement Wednesday evening.
The president celebrated the bipartisan nature of the deal, even though he said it was not all of the proposed spending that he asked for. “This reminds me of the days we used to get an awful lot done up in the United States Congress,” Biden said. “We actually work when we have bipartisan deals.”
The ten senators involved in the negotiations include — Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Mark R. Warner (D-VA)
“A lot of us go back a long way. Where we’re used to doing one thing, giving each other our word and that’s the end,” Biden said, referring to his past career in the Senate. Romney agreed. “This is a great group of people here,” he said, calling it a “big surprise” the group could get along with each other when he came to Washington, DC. He signaled optimism for getting more senators to join them to push forward on the bill.
“I don’t know how far it’s going to get. I think it will get all the way, we got the president behind it,” he said, adding, “America works, the Senate works, and we can work together.” “Hear hear!” the group shouted after Romney finished speaking.
Sinema said the bill would include investments in green energy, climate, and power grids, as well as other infrastructure priorities. Collins boasted the bill was “the largest infrastructure package in history.”
The overall cost of the proposed bill is $953 billion according to reports, with $559 billion in new spending. Romney said the details of the deal would be released to the public Thursday afternoon.
Biden said many Republicans did not want to support his plan to dramatically expand government entitlements for “human infrastructure” but said he would proceed with a proposed reconciliation bill. The plan would be to use budget reconciliation to push trillions of dollars in additional entitlements and green energy priorities.
That deal would require Democrats to unite using their 50-vote majority plus a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris to push forward a reconciliation plan, similar to the partisan $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill passed in March.✪