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The bipartisan group of senators is “very, very close” to an agreement on an infrastructure package deal, Ohio Republican Rob Portman told reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, and President Biden invited the group to the White House Thursday.
The call follows meetings between White House advisers and a group of senators on Wednesday.
“Senior White House staff had two productive meetings today with a bipartisan group of senators negotiating infrastructure,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. ‘The group has made progress in drafting a potential agreement, and the president has invited the group to come to the White House tomorrow to discuss it in person. “
Portman told reporters that the senators had had a “framework” agreement for several weeks. In fact, on June 10, a group of five Republicans and five Democrats announced they agreed on the contours of the package: about $ 1.2 trillion in spending over eight years, but less than half of new spending.
The bipartisan group has now grown to 21 members.
The key hurdle was how to pay for the measure, Republicans opposed the repeal of any 2017 tax cuts, and Biden opposed a gas tax increase.
Portman told reporters that the group has a “balanced compensation group”, but did not go into more details.
Bilateral infrastructure negotiations are on one path. Democrats, meanwhile, are looking at another, much larger package that would include spending on climate and education and would run along party lines, through the Senate budget reconciliation process.
Democrats in the Senate have begun a budget process that would allow such a measure to move through the chamber.
“Infrastructure discussions are advancing on two tracks,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said on the chamber floor on Wednesday. “The first is bipartisan, and the second includes elements of the president’s American plan of affairs and families. The second track is something we must support even if it doesn’t get any Republican support.”
“For several weeks now, trains have been pulling both tracks pretty well,” Schumer added. “When the Senate returns after the July 4 state term, it will be time for the next step forward.”
Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Scheduled a meeting with White House aides Wednesday night to discuss the latest information on infrastructure.