Could the Senate GOP infrastructure bill derail negotiation talk? House Dems also throw a curveball

Written by RT&S Staff
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Lawmakers will aim to have the infrastructure bill passed by November.
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In what should be a slam-dunk bipartisan victory, President Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill could turn into a poorly played missed shot.

Senate Republicans have rolled out a $928 billion bill, which is far short of Biden’s $2 trillion hope. Furthermore, only about one-quarter of the $928 billion is tied to new spending above existing levels. Still, Senate Republicans believe they have hit on most of the hot items in Biden’s proposal. The White House responded with some disappointment, stating some of the main items in the $2 trillion plan are not receiving enough funding.

The Republican Senate version would provide $98 billion for public transit and $46 billion for passenger rail, and also calls for additional spending for ports, waterways, airports, and broadband connectivity. The GOP also has a different way to fund the measure: unused stimulus funds. Senate Republicans believe there is $700 billion still available in stimulus funds that were included in the last coronavirus relief package. Biden wants to finance his $2 trillion plan through tax increases on corporations, which is a non-starter among Republicans.

The Senate proposal does mean talks will continue into next week, and there is word that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) have joined together to create a bipartisan compromise.

A new wrinkle also appeared on the Democratic side, as more than 200 House Democrats are demanding union and labor protections in the infrastructure spending bill. Without the safeguards, many may not support the funding.

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