Republican senators walked out of a series of closed-door bipartisan talks on Thursday that boasted of a “tentative” infrastructure deal, but their Democratic counterparts would not go that far.
Why is this important: Members of the so-called group of 20 G20 senators appear to be the last and best hope for a bipartisan deal, but the split in the talks highlights the lingering rift between the parties on roads, bridges and more.
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Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Thursday morning that the group had agreed to a global dollar amount and mechanisms to pay for their package.
When Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.), another member of the G20, was informed of the comments, he replied: “News for me.”
Romney came back and said, “We have a piece of paper with each row and a total, and we have a reverse side with each row and a total. So, can it be adjusted and changed? Of course. items for all expenses and what they add on, and payments for all expenses and what they add on. “
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine): “There is an agreement in principle on a framework [between 10 of the senators in the group], but there is obviously a long way to go. “
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told reporters that most of the group were “basically in agreement” on all key aspects of a deal, adding that he expects them to make it public by the end of the next week.
Cassidy would not share the largest figure they are discussing, but said it would be similar to the $ 1.2 trillion figure released by the Problem Solvers Caucus.
He added that President Biden has said he wants the bill to include around $ 600 billion in new spending, in addition to basic spending.
“So I don’t think anyone felt pressured to exceed their goal,” Cassidy said.
Senator Joe Manchin (DW.V.), would not share details, but said: “Things are going in the right direction.”
Between the lines: Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), Like other members of the bipartisan group, said the divide could be rooted in tactics and semantics.
“Everyone has different approaches to how to do these things,” he said.
“I actually think it’s best, until the cake is completely baked, to make sure we keep all the ingredients quiet,” added Warner, who has signed millions of contracts as an executive. in telecommunications.
Our thought bubble: While the Republicans in the Group of 20 are very positive about the progress of the negotiations, we remain skeptical about their success.
The same level of optimism has emerged from Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) and Republicans who have spent weeks making a potential deal with Biden – just to see those talks crumble this week.
It is also unclear whether G20 Republicans represent the wider GOP conference. Capito had the backing of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Who has yet to say whether he will support the group’s efforts.
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