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A bipartisan group of senators are “very, very close” to a deal on a deal for an infrastructure package, Ohio Republican Rob Portman told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, and President Biden invited the group at the White House Thursday.
The invitation follows meetings between White House advisers and the group of senators on Wednesday.
“Senior White House officials had two productive meetings today with the bipartisan group of senators who negotiated on infrastructure,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “The group has made progress towards previewing a potential deal, and the president has invited the group to come to the White House tomorrow to discuss it in person.”
Portman told reporters that senators had a “framework” of agreement for a few weeks. Indeed, on June 10, a group of five Republicans and five Democrats announced that they had agreed on the contours of a package: some $ 1.2 trillion in spending over eight years, but less than half new expenses.
The bipartite group now has 21 members.
A key sticking point has been how to pay for the measure, with Republicans opposed to overturning one of their tax cuts in 2017, and Biden against increasing the gasoline tax.
Portman told reporters the group had “a balanced payroll,” but did not go into details.
Bipartite infrastructure talks are on the same track. Meanwhile, Democrats are considering a much larger second package that would include spending on climate and education and adopt party lines, via the Senate budget reconciliation process.
Senate Democrats have begun the budget process that would allow such a measure to move through the chamber.
“The infrastructure talks are moving forward on two tracks,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. “The first is bipartisan and the second incorporates elements of the US presidential plan for jobs and families. The second is something we must support even if it receives no Republican support.”
Biden initially proposed an infrastructure and employment plan worth more than $ 2 trillion, in addition to a separate proposal of almost similar size on education, child care and paid time off.
“For several weeks now, trains have been running fairly well on both tracks,” Schumer added. “When the Senate returns after the July 4 public works period, it will be time to take the next step.”
Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Were planning to meet with White House aides on Wednesday evening to discuss the latest infrastructure developments.