‘We have a deal’: Biden announces bipartisan infrastructure agreement

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a deal on a bipartisan infrastructure package but warned he would not sign it unless it was passed “in tandem” with a separate budget reconciliation bill that invested in social infrastructure and other Democratic priorities.

“For me, investment in our physical and human infrastructure are inextricably intertwined,” Biden said during a speech at the White House.

“Both need to get done,” he continued. “I’m not just signing the bipartisan bill and forgetting about the rest I proposed.”

Biden said he would work with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to make sure that both the bipartisan deal and the reconciliation bill moved through Congress quickly.

The White House said the bipartisan agreement includes $579 billion in new spending for physical infrastructure that will be used for transit and rail networks, roads and bridges, and other investments.

The proposal will be funded in part by more tax enforcement and redirecting emergency relief funds including unused unemployment benefits, the White House said.

It provides $312 billion for transportation projects, $109 billion on roads and bridges and $66 billion on passenger and freight rail, according to a White House document confirmed by two congressional aides.

“Neither side got everything they wanted in this deal. That’s what it means to compromise and it reflects something important: it reflects consensus,” Biden said.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, called it “a good compromise that’s going to help the American people.”

“I’m pleased to see we were able to come together on a core infrastructure package,” he said, adding that it will be done “without new taxes.”

The deal could still face several obstacles in Congress.

Democratic leaders have insisted that a bipartisan deal not come at the expense of a larger package of Biden’s other proposals, including investments in child care, paid leave and climate action.

The president, who stood by the senators after they met to announce that “we have a deal,” said he’d seek to “attract all the Democrats” to support that package separately.

“I don’t think either one can pass without the other probably,” said Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that the House would not consider a vote on any bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passes a separate budget reconciliation bill, which would require the votes of all 50 Democratic members of the chamber.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the No. 3 Democrat in the chamber, backed Pelosi’s approach.”I think that’s the best strategy,” she told NBC News.

Moments before the deal was announced, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the bipartisan group’s framework did not yet have enough support to pass.

“There’s closer to 20 votes than 60 votes for the bipartisan proposal today,” Murphy said.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., expressed openness to reconciliation on Thursday, saying the two-track approach was “the only strategy we have.”

“Reconciliation is inevitable,” he told reporters.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., one of the leaders of the group, said in an interview she is “delighted” about reaching a deal and plans to talk to her colleagues to build support for it.

She indicated she was open to a dual-track approach on the bipartisan deal and reconciliation.

“I will work with anyone to get things done. I’ve already spoken with the president and Leader Schumer about their thoughts on a two-phase process. And like always, I am open to finding a path forward,” Sinema told NBC News.

It was also unclear Thursday whether Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would support the deal. The Kentucky Republican maintains an iron grip over his caucus and his stamp of approval has been key to assurance the minimum GOP support needed to defeat a filibuster.

The White House added that the deal would build a system of electric vehicle charging stations; invest in electric school and transit buses; replace the nation’s lead pipes; ensure all Americans have access to reliable high-speed internet and protect infrastructure against cyberattacks.

Many progressive lawmakers have expressed openness to backing an infrastructure agreement with Republicans effort as long as it is liked to advancement of a Democrats-only multi-trillion dollar bill.

And for moderate Republicans, it is a rare opportunity to find common ground with the White House.

“We’ve agreed on the price tag, the scope and how to pay for it,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Julie Tsirkin and Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed.

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