Biden Commits To Bipartisan Deal On Hard Infrastructure

US President Joe Biden speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 8, 2021. - Biden on Thursday called US gun violence an "epidemic" at a White House ceremon... US President Joe Biden speaks about gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 8, 2021. - Biden on Thursday called US gun violence an "epidemic" at a White House ceremony to unveil new attempts to get the problem under control. (Photo by Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
June 24, 2021 1:26 p.m.

President Biden threw his support behind an infrastructure agreement reached by a bipartisan group of senators on Thursday, announcing in the Rose Garden that “we have a deal.”

The announcement comes hours after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the House would only vote on the bill once the Senate passed an additional package of infrastructure legislation through budget reconciliation.

The contours of the bipartisan package are unclear, though senators involved in the negotiation said that it will add up to around $1 trillion. It’s not clear how much of that will be new money, and how much of that will be cannibalized from pre-existing funding, though Biden lauded both sides for making “serious compromises.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said that details would be released later on Thursday.

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When asked whether he trusted Republican senators to follow through, Biden replied that “They’ve given me their word.”

“Where I come from, that’s good enough for me,” he added.

It’s not clear whether the deal will be able to clear the 60 votes needed to overcome a likely Republican filibuster in the Senate. Five Democrats and five Republicans signaled support for the plan outside the White House on Thursday. It’s not clear if an additional five Republicans that had been involved in the negotiations support the version of the deal presented to Biden.

Ten Republicans would be needed to clear a filibuster.

“There’s closer to 20 votes than 60 votes for the bipartisan proposal today,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said on Thursday.

Sen. Ron Wyden (R-OR) said on a Thursday press call that “regardless of how bipartisan legislation develops, we cannot throw priorities like climate, prescription drugs and tax fairness overboard.”

The announcement throws the weight of the White House behind the deal, which would be accompanied by a reconciliation bill that Democrats hope would include priorities cut from the bipartisan package, and would need only 50 votes plus a tie-breaker cast by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Negotiations over a physical infrastructure package, focusing on roads, bridges, and rural broadband, have dragged on since April, the White House sought GOP support for a deal to meet a condition set by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Biden broke off talks this month with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and instead let the bipartisan group of senators hammer out the deal.

At the Rose Garden event, Manchin said “yes” when asked if there would be a reconciliation bill passed by Democrats to accompany the bipartisan bill. He told an NBC reporter on Wednesday that he wants that reconciliation package to focus on tax changes and human infrastructure proposals like child care, retirement, and paid family leave.

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