Biden: ‘We have a deal’ on infrastructure with bipartisan group of senators
“To answer your direct question, we have a deal,” he said.
Though hurdles remain, the announced agreement is a significant development that could pave the way for passage of a chunk of Biden’s domestic agenda.
“We all agree that none of us got all we wanted. I clearly didn’t get all I wanted, they gave more than I think maybe what they were planning to give in the first place,” Biden said. “But this reminds me of the days when we used to get an awful lot done up in the United States Congress.”
The President said: “Bipartisan deals mean compromise.”
Biden said Republicans and the bipartisan group of senators did not support the issues outlined in his American Families Plan, which calls for an additional $1.8 trillion federal spending on education, childcare and other priorities. The Families Plan is the second part of the President’s proposal to revitalize the nation and ensure a more equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ll see what happens in the reconciliation bill, the budget process, and if we can get some compromise there — and if we can’t, see if I can attract all the Democrats to a position that is there, but we’re going to move on a dual track,” Biden said.
The President thanked each senator in the bipartisan group, which included Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.
Before Thursday’s Oval Office meeting, the President had been briefed by his team on the framework and had a “positive” view of what had been put together so far, according to a source familiar with the matter. Biden’s top aides signed off on where things landed on Wednesday night and that was viewed as a tacit acknowledgment he would be in the same place. Biden officially getting behind the measure marked a key milestone and lays the groundwork for the next steps.
A lot of work remains on the policy and drafting side of the proposal. But Biden and his team have grown increasingly bullish on the pathway a bipartisan agreement lays out for moving the full scope of the President’s $4 trillion economic agenda.
Many details of the plan remain unclear. But the total cost of the plan is $1.2 trillion over eight years, with $559 billion in new spending, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.
But after their late-night meeting on Wednesday with White House officials, Democratic leaders said they planned to move forward with a much larger Democratic-only approach to dramatically expand the social safety plan in addition to the bipartisan infrastructure plan.
Romney and Manchin said the bipartisan proposal is fully paid for and offsets the new spending. How to pay for the proposal has been a major point of contention during the negotiations.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
CNN’s Lauren Fox, Manu Raju, Ted Barrett, Jessica Dean and DJ Judd contributed to this report.