President Biden reached agreements on some points on infrastructure during a meeting with bipartisan members of Congress, although there will still be hurdles if the president wants this push to have bipartisan support.
Mr. Biden has pitched aaimed at boosting the economy, renovating landmarks, rebuilding roads and bridges, rebuilding schools and spending billions fighting climate change. During the meeting, the president said he’s prepared to negotiate both on the extent of the package and on how to pay for it. Mr. Biden said he’s confident the infrastructure push will work out.
The infrastructure proposal currently includes a 28%, which moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has already said is too high. Manchin has said he could be more amenable to a 25% corporate tax. And Republicans have criticized the proposal for including things beyond more than just physical infrastructure, like roads and bridges.
Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi told Fox Business Network on Monday afternoon that “we agreed roads, bridges, ports, airports, rail, those are all infrastructure. And we had a nice conversation about broadband.” Wicker said the conversation lasted an hour and 40 minutes.
“The president was very engaged. He heard from all of us, four Democrats and four Republicans. And so we’ve got some work to do. But if he’ll scale it back, we may be able to,” Wicker said.
In a phone call with reporters, Congressman Donald Payne Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey, said several Republicans in the room had issued with parts of the bill, but the president made it clear he’s willing to discuss and negotiate. The bipartisan group talked about possible ways to pay for the package, including with a gas tax and an increase in the corporate tax rate. The president also didn’t give a timetable for his infrastructure plan, Payne said.
At least $621 billion would be spent to rebuild more than 20,000 miles of highways and roads and repair more than 10,000 bridges. Major airports would undergo significant facelifts and roughly 500,000 new electric vehicle-charging stations would dot the national landscape by 2030. More than $200 billion would be spent to update or build two million affordable housing units. Clean, lead-free drinking water would flow into thousands of schools for the first time at a cost of $111 billion. And $18 billion would be spent to update veterans’ hospitals, some of which haven’t been significantly updated in more than 50 years.
“It’s time to build our economy from the bottom up and the middle out,” Mr. Biden said when he announced his infrastructure plan.
Ed O’Keefe, Nikole Killion, Rebecca Kaplan, Kristin Brown and Grace Segers contributed to this report