House Democrats, Senate Republicans work to advance competing infrastructure plans

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – President Joe Biden walked away from infrastructure talks with Senate Republicans and boarded a flight to Europe Wednesday. But in Washington, both parties remained grounded deep in debate.

“This bill is going to the Senate,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR.

DeFazio’s House committee put parts of the president’s infrastructure plan on paper, including investments in transit and wastewater projects.

“I think there is some willingness on the part of the Senate and Senate Republicans even to go to a higher number,” he said.

DeFazio wants to hash out those differences in a traditional conference committee.

“I push the leadership to that,” he said. “I mean, they kind of looked shocked when I said I wanted to do these bills in regular order. That’s my intention.”

In the Senate, a new bipartisan group is intent on nailing down a deal with the White House, but most Republicans are taking a hard line on what they will accept.

“We could pass an infrastructure bill this week,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-LA.

Kennedy said a deal must be limited to traditional infrastructure and leave out tax increases on the wealthy.

“An agreement requires that actually each side is willing to give up some of what it wants,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY. “And as we learned yesterday, President Biden is unwilling to let go of some of the most radical promises he made to the left wing of his party.”

Some Democrats are growing impatient with the back and forth, urging leaders to move forward without Republicans by using budget reconciliation, the same method used to pass the president’s COVID-19 relief package with a simple majority.

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