Bipartisan Senate Group Reaches Agreement On Infrastructure Proposal

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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The bipartisan group of senators working on an infrastructure proposal came to an agreement Thursday that inches closer to President Joe Biden’s spending demands.

The plan, developed by 10 senators, totals $1.2 trillion over eight years ($974 billion over five years) and has $579 billion in new spending on top of funds set aside in previous agreements, Forbes reported. This is double the new spending cost Republican West Virginia Shelley Moore Capito proposed during her negotiations with the president, which fell apart just before his first foreign trip.

“The President appreciates the Senators’ work to advance critical investments we need to create good jobs, prepare for our clean energy future, and compete in the global economy,” deputy press secretary, Andrew Bates, said in a statement.

“Senior White House staff and the Jobs Cabinet will work with the Senate group in the days ahead to get answers to those questions, as we also consult with other Members in both the House and the Senate on the path forward,” the statement continued.

Biden expressed hope of a bipartisan infrastructure agreement, but accomplishing this proves to be difficult. Biden ended talks Tuesday after the Capito-led group was unable to “come up significantly on new investment” for the plan.

The group also wasn’t “willing” to “be specific about payoffs and consider reasonable solutions,” an administration official previously told Politico’s Sam Stein.

This newest group Biden is hoping to work with is comprised of five Democrats and five Republicans, according to Forbes.

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia make up the Democratic side.

Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah complete the group.

The group’s plan largely focused on infrastructures, such as roads and bridges. In contrast, Biden’s proposal expands far more broadly, Forbes noted. The proposal is “fully paid for” but doesn’t “include tax increases,” according to a statement from the senators.

Biden has been pushing a corporate tax hike hard amid infrastructure talks. Recently, he expressed a willingness to a minimum corporate tax rate in an attempt to sway Republicans towards agreeing to a proposal. (RELATED: Manchin Suggests He Won’t Back Infrastructure Bill Without Bipartisan Support From Republicans)

The administration indicated it has no desire to pay for any infrastructure proposal by way of a gas tax or tax raise on Americans making less than $400,000 a year. The bipartisan group hasn’t yet made it clear how its proposal will be paid for.

“Our group – comprised of 10 Senators, 5 from each party – has worked in good faith and reached a bipartisan agreement on a realistic, compromise framework to modernize our nation’s infrastructure and energy technologies,” the senators wrote in a statement.

“The investment would be fully paid for and not include tax increases.”

“We are discussing our approach with our respective colleagues, and the White House, and remain optimistic that this can lay the groundwork to garner broad support from both parties and meet America’s infrastructure needs,” the statement added.