July 25, 2021

Joe Biden lands bipartisan $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure deal

Joe Biden announced Thursday, June 24, an agreement with a group of ten Republican and Democratic senators on a plan for massive investments in infrastructure, recording clear success after months of negotiations, although he will still have to secure support from the left wing of his party. “We have an agreement”, said Mr. Biden at the end of this highly anticipated meeting. Rare image, he himself went out to announce it on the forecourt of the White House, in the presence of elected officials.

The plan is based on more than $ 1.2 trillion in investments over eight years, the White House said, including $ 312 billion in transportation, including roads and airports, and $ 266 billion in other types of infrastructures such as those allowing water transport, or high-speed internet. Republicans and Democrats have come to an agreement on their biggest obstacle so far: funding this massive project.

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Republicans had said they were fiercely opposed to a hike in business taxes, initially proposed by Joe Biden, while the White House refused to introduce new taxes that would affect households earning less than $ 400,000 a year, such as for example with a gasoline tax. In the end, the plan intends in particular to strengthen tax inspections to “Reduce” the amount of unpaid taxes and redirecting funds released in 2020 to fight the pandemic that have not been used, among other measures.

“The American Democrat works”

For the Democratic president, elected on the promise to reconcile America, this agreement shows that “American democracy works and can get results”. If it represents a major step forward, it does not however mark the end of the discussions. “I have no guarantee”, to have the votes to pass this project to the Senate, admitted Mr. Biden, while showing his optimism. “Neither party got everything they wanted”, he underlined, assuring that it was the price to pay to obtain a consensus.

The two Democratic majorities leaders in Congress stressed Thursday that the plan must go hand in hand with the development of another large bill that would include other priorities of the Biden administration. After months of discussions, the negotiations are moving towards two parallel tracks.

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On the one hand, this infrastructure plan “Traditional” (bridges, roads, airports…). And on the other, the Biden priorities that Democrats dubbed “Family infrastructure” or “Human”. Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi firmly indicated on Thursday that there would be no vote on the consensus text between Republicans and Democrats on infrastructure ” unless “ that the Senate also approve a bill including the other major democratic priorities: aid for the elderly, childcare but also the fight against climate change. A statement applauded by figures from the left wing of the party, such as the elected of the House Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Balancing act

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer told him Thursday morning “Encouraged” by the agreement between senators, while recalling that he always intended to move forward on this double track of projects “Related” : on the one hand the agreement between Republicans and Democrats on infrastructure, and on the other a complex parliamentary way which would allow the Democrats to adopt, with their only narrow majority in the Senate, the other part.

The balance to maintain agreements on both sides promises to be very delicate. Democratic leaders must indeed ensure the support of both their more conservative and more progressive elected officials, while maintaining that of the Republicans centrist on infrastructure, for these two bills to survive. Chuck Schumer plans to hold the first plenary procedural votes on the infrastructure deal as early as “Return” senators in July. The session will be adjourned in the upper house on Thursday evening until July 12.

At the same time, he announced that he intended to organize the other vote on a budget text which should ultimately allow the other side of the Biden program to be adopted. “As quickly as possible”.

The World with AFP