Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema met with President Joe Biden on Tuesday to discuss the proposed $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, and expressed optimism about its chances of passing the Senate.
Sinema described her talks with Biden as “productive,” with the legislation “moving forward” in a post-meeting interview with Politico.
“It’s always hard to answer that, but yes. That’s also my answer every day,” she said, in response to a question about whether or not the talks were “on track.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema will meet with President Biden at the White House today. The topic on the agenda, per a source familiar with the plan, is infrastructure negotiations “and their shared optimism that progress has been made and a final deal is within reach.”
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) July 27, 2021
Sinema is a leader of a group of 10 Senate Democrats and Republicans who have been working to come to an infrastructure agreement. Other key members of the group include Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.
“We have an agreement amongst the 10 of us on almost all the issues and that ought to win the day,” Romney said. “Were there not to be one to be completed and the Democrats were to blow it up, I think their prospects for other bipartisan successes would have been severely impacted.”
Biden announced June 24 that he had come to an agreement with the 10 senators on the infrastructure package. In a press conference later that day, however, Biden threatened to veto the package unless the House of Representatives and Senate passed another bill via reconciliation that includes provisions that did not make it into the bipartisan bill.
“It’s in tandem,” Biden said.
The reconciliation approach has the support of prominent left-wingers, including Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have also expressed their approval. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Accuses Biden Of ‘Playing Patty-Cake’ With Republicans While They Are ‘Setting The Planet On Fire’)
Portman said Sunday that the reconciliation approach could destroy the deal.
“The infrastructure bill has nothing to do with the reckless tax and spend extravaganza [Pelosi’s] talking about in terms of reconciliation,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulous. “If she has her way, we could” end up with nothing.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki expressed optimism about the prospect of a deal during her Tuesday press conference.
Biden and Sinema “are very much aligned on the path forward. Both feel optimistic about the path forward,” Psaki told reporters. “It is always at the tail end when you have, you know, some of the trickiest discussions, but they again remain quite positive about the forward momentum and the path we see the infrastructure package on at this point in time.”