Democrats Restless With Ongoing Bipartisan Infrastructure Package Negotiations | Infrastructure | Climate change | Joe biden

As the third group of bipartisan senators tries to negotiate an infrastructure package that both sides can agree to that meets the needs of the nation and is paid for in full, progressives in the Democratic Party doubt that the GOP will embrace its priorities, including provisions to address climate change.

Unlike Republican lawmakers, who have a traditional view of infrastructure that includes roads, bridges, railways, public transportation, airports, and rural broadband internet, progressives like Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) And Ed. Markey (D-Mass.), And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (DN.Y.) say the package must include “human infrastructure” and its climate change priorities.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told reporters that the negotiations are in the initial phase.

“There is a tentative agreement on a framework, but obviously there is a long way to go,” he said.

Collins, along with Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) And Mark Warner (D-Va.) Are trying to negotiate an infrastructure proposal that they can bring to the White House.

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) speaks during a Capitol hearing in Washington on February 23, 2021. (Leigh Vogel / Pool / AFP via Getty Images)

The 10 senators began their talks after Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) tried to find a deal with the White House on the $ 1.9 trillion infrastructure package. The 58-member House Problem Solvers Caucus proposed a $ 1.25 trillion infrastructure package to find a bipartisan solution after GOP talks, led by Moore Capito, stalled for the week. pass.

One of the main sticking points has been the search for an agreement on what the infrastructure package should finance. President Joe Biden and Democrats say it should include education, childcare, healthcare and investments that meet its climate change goals.

On declaraciones a Face the Nation In May, Sanders said, “When I think of infrastructure, of course, it means education, how are we going to lead the world unless we have a competitive economy, a global economy, the best-educated workforce in the world.” The Vermont senator added that infrastructure also “means childcare, of course, it means healthcare.”

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Meanwhile, Markey said this week that he will “not only vote against an infrastructure package without climate action, but I will fight against it.”

And Senator Martin Heinrich (DN.M.) wrote in Twitter: “An infrastructure package that falls short on climate and clean energy should not have all the Democratic votes.”

Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works Chairman Thomas Carper (D-Del.) Said he is working with another bipartisan group to include climate change priorities in the proposal.

“As part of achieving our climate and infrastructure goals, we must reauthorize our ground transportation programs, which expire on September 30. I appreciate that my colleagues are well aware of this urgent need. I will continue to speak with senators inside and outside of our committee, as well as collaborate with the House of Representatives and the Administration, to finally get the job done and enact this critical legislation, ”Carper said in a written statement on Friday.

Epoch Times Photo
Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) At the US Capitol in Washington on February 9, 2021. (Leigh Vogel-Pool / Getty Images)

Romney, who is part of Collins’ 10-member bipartisan group, said his proposal would include “a series of items that relate to climate change.”

“One is related to nuclear energy, another to hydrogen-based energy, another to direct CO2 capture, another to CO2 pipelines,” he told reporters. “So all of those things are related to climate change.”

The way to pay for infrastructure has been another point of friction in the negotiations.

Collins’ bipartisan group of senators said in a statement Wednesday that his agreement would not include the tax increase.

“Our group – made up of 10 senators, 5 from each party – has worked in good faith and reached a bipartisan agreement on a realistic and compromising framework to modernize our nation’s energy infrastructure and technologies. This investment would be paid in full and would not include tax increases, ”they wrote.

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Biden has said he will not raise taxes on those who earn less than 400,000 a year, but instead will tax the rich and big business. In his initial infrastructure proposal, Biden proposed reversing the 2017 Trump-era tax laws and reforming the tax code.

“Questions need to be addressed, particularly around the details of both policy and payments, among other matters,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement to the media. The White House plans to negotiate with the bipartisan group in the coming days.

The total amount of the infrastructure deal agreed by the Collins group has not been disclosed. Warner, who is part of Collins’ bipartisan group of lawmakers, said this week on MSNBC that he would not be part of the negotiations unless the framework was “substantially more than what was discussed with Capito.”

Meanwhile, Democrats grow impatient with the bipartisan process.

Sanders told Face the Nation that if GOP lawmakers don’t support the broad definition of infrastructure to include priorities like climate change, Democrats should forget about bipartisanship.

“We would like bipartisanship, but I don’t think there is seriousness on the part of Republican leaders to address the main crises this country is facing and if they do not appear. We have to move on, alone, ”he said.

“President Biden and the Senate Democrats should step back and wonder if playing pat with GOP senators is really worth the dismantling of people’s voting rights, setting the planet ablaze, allowing massive corporations to and the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes, etc., ”Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most progressive legislators in Congress, wrote on Twitter earlier this week.

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“I am worried that time will be wasted. Even if our Republican colleagues [trabajan de] good faith, we just don’t have time to delay, ”Senator Richard Blumenthal D-Conn.) told reporters, reported CBS.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) told reporters on Thursday that he is moving forward with reconciliation as bipartisan negotiations continue.

“But we continue to proceed in two ways, a bipartisan path and a reconciliation path, and both are moving forward,” he said.

With information from Zachary Stieber.

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