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A group of U.S.-centric senators rushed to reach a final agreement on the text of a $ 1-ton bipartisan infrastructure package Sunday, with funding for mass transit emerging as a point. of key attacks and growing tensions on Joe Biden’s economic agenda.
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner said in separate television interviews Sunday that they were confident an agreement could be reached this week to codify the party agreement between Biden next month. last.
“We’re about 90 percent of the way,” Portman said in an interview with ABC.
“We’re going to legislate the language with colleagues and with staff, and I feel good about doing that this week.”
Warner told Fox News Sunday, “I think you’re going to see a bill on Monday.”
The $ 1 million plan will finance investments in roads, bridges, ports, airports, water plants and broadband networks.
Portman said funding for mass transit projects was “an outstanding issue” on which Republicans “did not have much response from Democrats.”
Republicans, who disproportionately represent states and rural communities, want a lower level of funding for public transportation, while Democratic lawmakers, whose support is more concentrated in cities, want the agreement to include more funding for public transportation. mass transit.
“My hope is that we will see progress on this today,” Portman adds.
A first procedural vote to open the debate on the $ 1tn bill failed last week as Republican lawmakers opposed some of the details of the proposals and the fact that no final text had yet been published. But the White House and proponents of the proposal in Congress have moved forward with it, setting Monday as the deadline to proceed with a new vote.
Biden has heartily supported the agreement as a key to the U.S. economy and a sign that it could spur bipartisan transaction in Washington – increasing the political stakes of the negotiations.
If the deal fails, Democrats are required to include it in legislation planned to exceed $ 3.5tn later in the year that they want to pass without any Republican support to raise money on education and child care, paid by raising taxes on wealthier families and corporations.
The push by the White House to move forward with the two packages this year has raised tensions on Capitol Hill. Republicans attack the larger plan as excessive spending that damages the economy and fuels additional inflation, while Democrats argue that these are vital investments that will reinforce long-term growth and ease price pressures over time.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi told ABC yesterday that lower house Democrats will not pass the bipartisan infrastructure package until the major bill is even approved by the Senate, but Republicans reject any relationship between the two.
“The infrastructure project has nothing to do with the reckless extravagance of costs and expenses she is talking about,” Portman said, warning that if Pelosi “gets involved,” the bipartisan agreement could be in jeopardy.
Republicans have also expressed skepticism over the vote to raise the U.S. debt limit in the context of fiscal negotiations, angering Democrats who say there should be bipartisan support for approving a measure that would ensure that states United did not miss its debt, and it reflects spending that was already approved by Congress.
The U.S. Treasury warned last week that it would begin taking special measures to strengthen its cash position, but urged Congress to act as soon as possible to increase the country’s debt limit.