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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Business leaders across the country are trying to insert themselves into the infrastructure debate, using whatever external power they possess to push lawmakers to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan deal.

Why it matters: Axios surveyed an array of business leaders and their statements, and from UPS to Siemens to Raytheon, everyone seems to want the deal to succeed — particularly since it doesn't include tax increases.

  • Blackstone global head of infrastructure Sean Klimczak said: "Renewed federal support in this area — combined with state, local and private investment — will create good-paying jobs and promote sustainable economic growth. We are proud to support this bipartisan framework."
  • Bechtel CEO Brendan Bechtel said in a statement: "We are strongly supportive of the scope of this bipartisan framework to ensure our infrastructure can meet the needs and demands of our country and its dynamic economy for generations to come."
  • Siemens USA CEO Barbara Humpton tweeted: "As a bipartisan infrastructure plan moves forward, we're encouraged to see a vision for investing in the power grid."

Axios Pro Rata writer Dan Primack said such backing makes sense: "It's all cake and no spinach."

Between the lines: U.S. economic policy has constantly been in flux since the start of the pandemic and the transition between administrations.

  • Business leaders want stability so they can plan their futures.
  • Infrastructure is largely seen as a most durable policy, as building roads and bridges and fixing potholes have long been considered bipartisan — and are incredibly popular with voters.
  • Many businesses also are eager to come out publicly on a political issue that's widely popular with voters, following the blowback some suffered after yanking political donations to some Republican lawmakers following the Jan. 6 Capitol assault.

Meanwhile on the Hill, lawmakers are even more receptive to what business leaders have to say on this issue because of the emphasis on jobs.

  • There are temporary jobs in building infrastructure, as well as longer-term job creation and economic growth.
  • It's also something lawmakers can go back home and easily sell to voters.

What they're saying: The Business Roundtable, the voice of America's top CEOs, will focus on the group of 21 senators who negotiated the bipartisan deal, as well as the Problem Solvers Caucus in the House and other members.

  • This week it's rolling out an engagement plan that includes launching radio and digital ads in 52 media markets, plus the District of Columbia, urging support of the deal.
  • It will take out print ads in local newspapers, including the Delaware News Journal on Thursday.
  • It is also activating its 232 CEOs and giving them call scripts, with the goal of ensuring that crucial lawmakers hear from two to three CEOs.

What to watch: As earnings season ramps up in the coming weeks, expect corporate executives to use the occasion to talk up the deal with reporters.

  • Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes said this month: "We very much support the bipartisan efforts we've seen in Congress of late to come to a reasonable solution around how much we can afford to invest in infrastructure."
  • UPS said in a statement to Axios: "A bipartisan deal can equitably and sustainably accelerate the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic while enhancing personal mobility, increasing safety and facilitating goods movement."

Go deeper

McConnell demands Schumer, Pelosi delink infrastructure deal from spending plans

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called on President Biden Monday to ensure Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) follow his lead on delinking the bipartisan infrastructure deal from plans to spend trillions more on Democratic priorities.

Why it matters: McConnell has not yet endorsed the $1 trillion bipartisan deal, which Biden struck with five Republican and five Democratic senators last week. His potential opposition could sway other Republican senators and prevent the legislation from winning the 60 votes it needs to pass the Senate.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jun 29, 2021 - Energy & Environment

White House sells infrastructure deal amid green angst

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The White House is trying to build support for clean energy and climate pieces of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure outline at a time when activists are calling the plan far too modest.

Why it matters: The White House faces growing urgency to corral progressive lawmakers now that President Biden has abandoned threats to veto the plan unless a much larger, Democrats-only package moves too.

Jun 29, 2021 - Politics & Policy

McConnell's process approach to policy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is trying to blunt momentum for the bipartisan infrastructure bill by focusing on process before policy.

Why it matters: The author of "The Long Game" is once again trying to dictate the terms of congressional action by demanding Democratic leaders delink President Biden's second infrastructure plan from his first. The strategy lets McConnell gain some control of the debate, even if he ultimately supports the package.