Biden strikes $1 trillion infrastructure deal with GOP while supporting separate party-line package

Joe Biden wearing a mask and giving a thumbs-up to the camera.
President Joe Biden. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Biden struck a deal on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan with the GOP on Thursday.
  • “We have a deal,” Biden told reporters outside the White House.
  • It’s expected to encompass hard infrastructure like roads and bridges.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden threw his support behind a $1 trillion infrastructure deal negotiated by a group of Senate Republicans and Democrats, a major step toward his goal of working with the GOP despite its opposition to most of his agenda.

“We have a deal,” Biden said on Thursday after an Oval Office meeting with the bipartisan group of 10 senators. “We made serious compromises on both ends.”

The Senate faction came out strongly in favor of the plan. “It was essential to show the Senate can function, that we can work in a bipartisan way,” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said. Other negotiators championed the package as well.

-U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@SenBillCassidy) June 24, 2021

The framework, made public on Thursday after the White House meeting, includes funding for physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges. About $579 billion would constitute new spending beyond existing programs. That represents about a quarter of Biden’s $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, unveiled in late March.

The document outlining the infrastructure deal said $109 billion would fund roads, $65 billion would fund broadband internet access, and $49 billion would go toward public transit.

It would build a national network of 500,000 electric-vehicle chargers along highways and in rural and disadvantaged communities.

It would increase audits of the federal unemployment payments during the coronavirus pandemic to crack down on fraud and would beef up IRS enforcement to reduce tax evasion. Insider previously reported that the bipartisan group of 10 senators was near an agreement on a $40 billion investment in the IRS that could yield an estimated $63 billion in additional tax revenue.

Additional funding would come from allowing states to purchase unused toll credits for infrastructure and rerouting funds from the pandemic response, among other measures.

The group of 10 lawmakers was evenly divided between the parties, made up of Republican Sens. Mitt Romney, Rob Portman of Ohio, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Collins, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, Mark Warner of Virginia, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Biden said in a press conference after the meeting that the latest plan represented “one half” of his economic plan and that he wanted to get to work “right away” on other infrastructure proposals including childcare, education, caregiving, and clean energy. The two bills would move “in tandem,” he said.

“For me, investment in our physical and human infrastructure are inextricably intertwined,” Biden said. “Both make us stronger.”

Democrats are poised to approve the follow-up economic package sometime in the late summer or early fall.

“There ain’t no infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference on Thursday, referring to the larger package, which would likely pass along party lines, without any GOP votes.

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Many Democrats, particularly progressives, are pressing for quick passage of the separate economic package focused on Biden’s spending initiatives.

“We know what we need to get done – roads, bridges, childcare, clean energy,” Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts told reporters. “That’s one package altogether.”

Asked by Insider about her preferred timeline for approving a party-line reconciliation plan, she emphasized “soon” and said July.