WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — One day after infrastructure talks broke down between President Joe Biden and GOP senators, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers unveiled a slightly less pricy plan in an effort to gain more support from both sides of the aisle.
Maine Rep. Jared Golden was among the 29 Democrats who worked with 29 Republicans on the $1.25 trillion plan, which they say “could win support from both parties.” The group—called the “Problem Solvers Caucus”—says the plan would include $762 billion in new funding over the next 8 years for highways, bridges, broadband expansion, clean energy, and more.
Golden said the plan “shows that a bipartisan deal to rebuild American infrastructure is possible if congressional leaders and the White House are willing to stay at the table and continue bipartisan talks.”
Their plan includes:
- $582 billion for highways, roads, and safety
- $45 billion for broadband expansion
- $120 billion for freight and passenger rail
- $26 billion for ports and waterways improvements
- $74 billion water and wastewater infrastructure
- $41 billion for airports
- $10 billion for veterans’ housing
The plan, however, does not address how it will be paid for, which is something lawmakers expect to be part of the negotiation process.
According to the Associated Press, Biden is eyeing “multiple paths forward” to plan infrastructure through Congress.
After walking away from talks with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Republicans’ lead negotiator, over their proposed $928 billion alternative plan, Biden welcomed the Problem Solvers’ plan and started new talks with a bipartisan group of 10 senators who are working on a deal, including Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
Maine Independent Sen. Angus King is involved in talks with his colleagues in the Senate on a plan that will attract bipartisan support and will "move the needle, not add to the deficit," a spokesperson for King told NEWS CENTER Maine.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly has told members of his party that he's open to a new bipartisan infrastructure plan, Collins told Reuters.
"We had a good meeting with Senator McConnell. He listened to the plan that we outlined and he said that he was - quote - open to it. He certainly did not commit one way or the other. But he’s in a listening mode and said that he was open to it,” Collins told Reuters.
Biden reportedly also met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to prepare for the possibility of going it alone without GOP support. Options include using special budget rules that would allow the plan to pass by a simple majority in the evenly divided Senate.