WASHINGTON — Key senators negotiating a bipartisan infrastructure deal announced Wednesday they have reached a deal with Democrats and the White House, setting up a possible vote later in the night.
“We now have an agreement on the major issues,” said Sen. Rob Portman. “We are prepared to move forward.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who was the lead negotiator for the Democrats, said lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on the bill.
“We do expect to move forward this evening, we’re very excited to have a deal,” she said.
The deal will require 60 votes to move forward, meaning at least 10 Republican senators must for it to pass.
“I believe we have the votes for that,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
Republican senators Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney all joined Portman for the announcement.
The deal includes $550 billion in new spending on infrastructure projects, down from the $579 billion negotiators originally asked for. Overall spending will equal over $1 trillion when factoring in other spending costs.
President Joe Biden released a statement on the agreement, saying it is proof democracy can function.
“This deal signals to the world that our democracy can function, deliver, and do big things,” he said. “This deal makes key investments to put people to work all across the country—in cities, small towns, rural communities, and across our coastlines and plains.”
The agreement on infrastructure comes after a disagreement over transit funding halted talks and threatened to derail the deal altogether.
The White House said the bill will be paid for using unspent coronavirus relief fund along with “targeted corporate user fees,” and “tax enforcement when it comes to cryptocurrencies”.
Democrats’ $3.5 trillion plan is expected to invest in child care, education, health care, and efforts to combat climate change. Republicans are against the deal and moderate Democrats, like Sinema, have said they will not support the package’s high price tag.
“I have told Senate leadership and President Biden that I support many of the goals in this proposal to continue creating jobs, growing American competitiveness, and expanding economic opportunities for Arizonans. I have also made clear that while I will support beginning this process, I do not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion,” the Arizona Democrat said in a statement.
The reconciliation bill is the only way that Democrats can pass Biden’s proposed tax increases on those making $400,000 and corporations, part of his efforts to reduce income equality.
Sinema’s statement drew sharp criticism from progressive Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNBC that he expects both bills to pass and Sen. Bernie Sanders agreed, saying both bills will need to pass.
“Two pieces of legislation, the bipartisan bill, and the budget reconciliation bill, have got to pass both in the Senate and the House,” he said. “It is my absolute conviction that you’re not going to have a bipartisan bill unless they have a reconciliation bill.”