May 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden, Carper to talk infrastructure at White House

Sen. Tom Carper is seen speaking during a congressional hearing.
Sen. Tom Carper. Photo: Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden will discuss his infrastructure proposal with Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, during a meeting at the White House on Monday, two sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is a big week for Biden to advance his $2.3 trillion "American Jobs Plan." Congress will return to the Capitol following a weeklong recess, and the focus of most conversations within the Capitol will be squarely on whether both parties can strike a bipartisan deal.

  • The meeting also follows Friday's disappointing jobs report, which left many lawmakers eager to make progress on a deal.
  • Biden is expected to meet later this week with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the top Republican on the committee.

Behind the scenes: Carper is a Biden friend from Delaware and has been working closely with Capito and other Republicans on a separate transportation reauthorization bill.

  • It's aimed at tackling a lot of the traditional infrastructure the Republican Party favors — including improving and expanding roads, highways, bridges and ports.
  • The funding bill, which is historically bipartisan and normally renewed every five years, is needed to ensure certain federally funded transportation projects remain open and operating.
  • Last year, the Senate instead passed a one-year stopgap measure that will expire at the end of September.

Between the lines: Carper and other Democratic members see this bill as a realistic way to finding a compromise with Republicans on infrastructure, given the measure must pass and focuses on areas of overlap between the two parties.

  • "Many top Democrats involved in the negotiations see the reauthorization as one way to pass a big chunk of what’s in Biden’s plan — the nuts and bolts of infrastructure," one source familiar with the talks told Axios.
  • Democrats also see some of these key provisions as being foundational for advancing climate goals, even if they don't directly address the broader, more progressive climate priorities some members want.
Go deeper