May 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan group of lawmakers preparing new infrastructure package

Joe Manchin

Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of senators are preparing a separate infrastructure proposal after negotiations between the White House and Republicans stalled, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) confirmed to Axios Tuesday.

Why it matters: The new package would narrow the definition of infrastructure and do away with some of the initiatives Democrats have pushed to include, such as funding for elder care and electric vehicles, according to the Washington Post, which first reported the news.

  • Instead, the package would focus on "traditional infrastructure" elements such as roads and bridges, per the Wall Street Journal.

The state of play: Senate Democrats previously set a Memorial Day weekend deadline for the negotiations, after which they plan to go forward with the budget reconciliation process.

  • Talks between the White House and a group of Republican senators led by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), fell apart over the weekend, as the two sides appeared still far apart on a potential agreement, per Axios' Alayna Treene.
  • But earlier Tuesday, Wicker signaled that the group was preparing a $1 trillion counteroffer for the White House this week.
  • Still, the bipartisan group of senators, including GOP Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Rob Portman (Ohio) and Democratic Sen. Manchin, are moving ahead with their plan as "a kind of back-burner backup," Romney told the Journal.
  • "I want to make sure that we don’t interfere with the process going on between the White House and Shelley Moore Capito, so they’re on the front burner and we’re kind of a back-burner backup,” he said.

What they're saying: "Shelley’s done a great job, she's been involved in everything we can, but you know she has put out a plan there and that's not where the White House is and some of us want to break this logjam, and if there’s a logjam you know then we'll try to, but she'll be involved and she understands and she wants to get something done too, I really believe that," Manchin told reporters.

  • Of note: Manchin also noted that he believes negotiations with the White House should extend past the holiday weekend as long as progress is being made.
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