July 28, 2021

Biden’s Economic Agenda Faces Familiar Hurdle With Fight Over Financing

Mr. Biden dispatched aides to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for discussions that his press secretary, Jen Psaki, said had yielded progress but no agreement. Top White House officials are set to meet on Wednesday evening with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California. Those discussions will center on infrastructure negotiations as well as a separate effort to move a large chunk of the president’s $4 trillion economic agenda through the Senate without any Republican votes using a procedural mechanism known as reconciliation.

Among those expected to attend the meeting are Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council; Steve Ricchetti, a top adviser to Mr. Biden; Louisa Terrell, the director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs; Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Susan E. Rice, who leads the White House Domestic Policy Council, according to an official familiar with the plans.

Democratic leaders in Congress are preparing to move a sweeping, multitrillion-dollar bill through the reconciliation process to avoid the need for Republican votes and approve spending on physical infrastructure, education, emissions reduction, child care, paid leave, antipoverty efforts and more. But centrist Democrats in the Senate — along with Mr. Biden — have said repeatedly that they want to strike a deal with Republicans on what would be a pared-down version of the president’s plan to rebuild roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects.

The bipartisan group has not reached public agreement on how to finance the spending. Moderates in both parties insist that any deal be paid for with new revenues. Mr. Biden has offered $4 trillion in potential revenue sources, all concentrated on increasing the tax burden on businesses and high earners. Republicans have countered with hundreds of billions of their own, including increased taxes for drivers and repurposing previously borrowed money from the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that Mr. Biden signed into law this year.

The senators who spearheaded the original framework spent much of Tuesday huddling with Mr. Deese, Mr. Ricchetti and Ms. Terrell to iron out the details of an outline to provide for $1.2 trillion over eight years, of which $579 billion is new funding, and how to finance it.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/23/us/politics/biden-infrastructure-plan.html

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