WASHINGTON — A $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal senators struck with President Joe Biden is at risk of stalling out as Republicans mount stiff resistance over ways to pay for it and momentum shifts to a more robust Democratic proposal coming into focus Tuesday.
Biden’s big infrastructure proposals are moving on parallel tracks in Congress in a race against time and political headwinds to make a once-in-a-generation investment in the nation. Senators from both groups are huddling privately again late Tuesday evening to shore up their proposals. But the bipartisan deal is running into opposition from business leaders, outside activists and GOP senators potentially denying it the support that’s needed for passage.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told Democratic colleagues to remain united — “Don’t draw any lines in the sand,” he said — as they draft the bigger, multitrillion-dollar package of once-in-a-generation investments for the nation that are the top priority for the president and his party. As Democrats push ahead, Republican leadership said it’s unlikely that the smaller, bipartisan effort would be ready for a Senate vote next week, as hoped.
“I’m going to take this day by day and participate in the process and see where we end up,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who is part of the bipartisan group of 21 senators but is not fully committed to the plan.
Paying for the new infrastructure was always going to be a challenge, which is partly why public works investments have lagged over time. Biden has proposed raising taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans earning more than $400,000 a year, which would cover not only the nearly $1 trillion proposal, but also the broader Democratic plan that is now swelling beyond $3.5 trillion. Republicans reject that approach.
Instead, the bipartisan group of senators is racing to salvage its plan, straining to come up with other revenue streams to fund the $1 trillion package, which includes about $579 billion in new spending beyond regular expenditures that are funded by gas taxes and other sources.