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Biden: ‘We have a deal’ on infrastructure with bipartisan group of senators

By Kate Sullivan and Phil Mattingly, CNN

President Joe Biden said Thursday he has agreed to a deal on infrastructure with a bipartisan group of senators after White House officials and the senators had a massive breakthrough the night before in their infrastructure negotiations.

Both Republican and Democratic senators said Wednesday evening there was an agreement reached with White House officials and 10 senators on a bipartisan infrastructure deal. And on Thursday afternoon, Biden said he had signed off on the agreement.

“To answer your direct question, we have a deal,” he said.

Though hurdles remain, the announced agreement is a significant development that could pave the way for passage of a chunk of Biden’s domestic agenda.

Before Thursday’s Oval Office meeting, the President had been briefed by his team on the framework and had a “positive” view of what had been put together so far, according to a source familiar with the matter. Biden’s top aides signed off on where things landed on Wednesday night and that was viewed as a tacit acknowledgment he would be in the same place. Biden officially getting behind the measure marked a key milestone and lays the groundwork for the next steps.

A lot of work remains on the policy and drafting side of the proposal. But Biden and his team have grown increasingly bullish on the pathway a bipartisan agreement lays out for moving the full scope of the President’s $4 trillion economic agenda.

Many details of the plan remain unclear. But the total cost of the plan is $1.2 trillion over eight years, with $559 billion in new spending, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

This proposal is significantly less than what Biden had initially proposed. The President initially put forward a $2.25 trillion plan to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and shift to greener energy over the next eight years.

But after their late-night meeting on Wednesday with White House officials, Democratic leaders said they planned to move forward with a much larger Democratic-only approach to dramatically expand the social safety plan in addition to the bipartisan infrastructure plan.

GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said the bipartisan proposal is fully paid for and offsets the new spending. How to pay for the proposal has been a major point of contention during the negotiations.

The bipartisan proposal agreed to on Wednesday would be approved through the typical legislative process, which means 60 votes would be needed to pass key procedural steps in a body divided 50-50 Democrats and Republicans.

But the approach for Democrats to go it alone on the separate package of Biden’s priorities would be done through a partisan process and would use the budget reconciliation process. That legislative tool can be approved with just 51 votes and cannot be filibustered if all Democrats fall in line, which is not certain to happen.

Biden was briefed on the outline of the framework on Wednesday evening, according to a source familiar.

In addition to the infrastructure proposal — the American Jobs Plan — the President has also put forward a $1.8 trillion federal investment in education, child care and paid family called the American Families Plan. Both proposals are part of the President’s effort to revitalize the nation and ensure a more equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Lauren Fox, Manu Raju, Ted Barrett and Jessica Dean contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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