White House Holding ‘Informal Discussions’ with Republicans on Second Infrastructure Package
Senior White House officials are engaging in “informal discussions” with external experts and GOP members on creating a second bipartisan package as an offshoot from a Democratic-only reconciliation bill that addresses “human infrastructure,” one of President Biden’s chief legislative priorities.
Gene Sperling and Neera Tanden, senior advisers to the president, and other economic aides are conducting the talks, individuals involved told the Washington Examiner. __S.3__
Biden just announced to the world that Democrats have reached a settlement with Republicans on a modest infrastructure package. It allocates $1.2 billion over eight years to transportation and technology projects. These include roads, bridges (or airports), electric utilities, broadband, and a small version of Biden’s original $6 trillion grand plan.
The Democrats also introduced a separate social spending-centric bill to make up the ground lost with the scaled down package. It provides funds for education, child and elder care, climate change, and climate change. Through the reconciliation process, a simple Democratic majority (50 votes) is required to pass it instead of 60.
The Democratic efforts followed the cues of Biden, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, and House majority leader Nancy Pelosi, who insisted on a second measure. Biden stated at a recent press conference that he would not sign the first infrastructure bill if there was not a “human infrastructure” bill.
Monday’s new joint-party offspring package may be focused on child and family incentives. This includes provisions for paid parental leaves; an extension to the long-term, fully refundable child credit; and an expansion of the state allocation of direct aid, which is apportioned through American Rescue Plan.
“There’s this recognition family policy is this wedge problem,” a policy expert who was familiar with the recent White House-GOP meetings said to the Washington Examiner. “And if Republicans let Democrats walk away from it, it’s an issue.”
The policy expert said that if Republicans formed a caucus and were organized, they could push for a bipartisan negotiation on the family. “The real question is how do they organize their efforts and approach the White House with common priorities? “I have yet to see them jumping at the chance.”
Anita Dunn is a senior White House advisor and reiterated that Biden’s two non-negotiable elements in an infrastructure settlement include total “inaction” and raising taxes on families making less than $400,000 per year. Biden has stated that he is open-minded to any legislative avenues to increase the chance of enacting most of the American Jobs and Families plan proposals he spearheaded.
“The president had two redlines in this whole process that we have repeatedly stated. Dunn stated that the president’s first and most important red line was inaction. He could not do so at Friday’s function. “And, the second red line was, as you know,” Dunn said at a Friday function. He has repeatedly stated that he would not accept tax increases for anyone earning less than $400,000 annually.
“We’re now at the start of a reconciliation. She stated that the Senate and the House have their own processes. “It’s both a congressional process as well as a negotiation. We understand that there will be much back and forth between now, and then.”