Biden and Senators Close In on Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

on Jun24
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But it would leave large swaths of the president’s economic proposals — including much of his spending to combat climate change, along with investments in child care, education and other types of what administration officials call “human infrastructure” — for a potential future bill that Democrats would try to pass through Congress without any Republican votes using a procedural mechanism known as reconciliation.

Progressive Democrats in the House and the Senate, along with liberal activists, have complained publicly in recent weeks that Mr. Biden’s negotiations with Republicans toward a bipartisan deal risked stranding much of the agenda that he campaigned on, including efforts to increase worker pay and speed the transition to a low-carbon future.

Moderate Democrats, including crucial swing votes for Mr. Biden like Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have pushed the president to continue bipartisan talks. So have business groups, who have told Republican lawmakers privately that their best chance of blocking Democrats from raising tax rates on businesses and high earners is to cut a deal with Mr. Biden on an infrastructure bill that raised revenues in another way.

Mr. Biden dispatched aides to Capitol Hill repeatedly in recent days to meet with the centrist group of senators and hammer out disagreements over their initial framework, which was never formally made public without White House approval.

“I would call this a much sturdier framework,” said Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia. He added, “We wouldn’t be going to the White House” if lawmakers did not believe the outline had a broad base of support.

Three of Mr. Biden’s aides — Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council; Steve Ricchetti, a top adviser to the president; and Louisa Terrell, the director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs — met with the bipartisan group twice on Wednesday before joining a meeting with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California later in the evening.

That meeting was intended to focus not only on the bipartisan talks, but plans to push some, if not all, of Mr. Biden’s agenda through both chambers using the fast-track budget reconciliation process that would allow Democrats to bypass Republican opposition. It lasted past 9 p.m.

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