Today, President Biden and the bipartisan group of Senators announced they had come to an agreement on a package, including spending levels and revenue offsets. The details of the final agreement are still being worked out, but we expect it to closely resemble the nearly $1 trillion infrastructure framework the group put forward last week. The proposal focuses on “hard” infrastructure investment and does not include any tax increases.
According to POLITICO, the topline for new spending in the proposal shifted from $579 billion to $559 billion, based on repurposing $20 billion for broadband funds. This is less than the $1 trillion President Biden initially sought but more than original proposals from Republican senators.
Much work remains to secure 60 Senate votes for the bipartisan package. As Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) stated Wednesday on CNN, “that deal has 20 votes — not 60 votes,” emphasizing that the group of 21 who wrote the plan now needs to sell it to their Senate colleagues.
On the Republican side of the aisle, it is unclear how many additional GOP votes the bipartisan package will garner beyond the 10 senators in the bipartisan group. This obstacle is only growing as additional Senate Democrats say they won’t support a bipartisan deal. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has said he would not support the plan, while Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she could not support a package that doesn’t include child care, clean energy and requiring the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
Additionally, Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) vowed to oppose any infrastructure bill that does not include major policies to address climate change. The bipartisan agreement includes provisions around electric vehicles and the power grid, but that might not be enough for these climate-focused senators.
These objections will increase the number of Senate GOP votes needed for the package to clear the 60-vote filibuster threshold.