‘It’s there for the taking’: Lindsey Graham tells Biden he can have a $1 TRILLION infrastructure deal if he wants it while Bernie Sanders sets out tax red lines as left and right haggle over who foots the bill
- Senators continue to haggle over $1 trillion infrastructure compromise
- Sen. Lindsey Graham said a bipartisan deal was there for the taking
- ‘You just need to get involved and lead,’ he told President Biden
- Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would not allow ‘regressive’ taxes to fund the plans
- The comments show how much is still to be done to turn plan into reality
Senators continued haggling over a $1 trillion infrastructure package, with socialist Bernie Sanders laying out red lines on tax and Republican Lindsey Graham telling President Biden a deal was there for the taking.
The wrangling illustrates just how hard it will be for President Biden to bring along progressives and conservatives in a bipartisan deal to deliver one of his biggest legislative priorities.
Sanders said he would not support using gas taxes or fees on electric vehicles which would not spread the burden fairly – while Graham challenged Biden to get on with agreeing a deal.
Graham said he was hopeful that the bipartisan negotiation would be successful with White House backing.
‘President Biden, if you want an infrastructure deal of a trillion dollars, it’s there for the taking. You just need to get involved and lead,’ Graham told Fox News Sunday.
Sen Lindsey Graham said: ‘President Biden, if you want an infrastructure deal of a trillion dollars, it’s there for the taking. You just need to get involved and lead’
Meanwhile, Sen Bernie Sanders is working on an alternative $6 trillion infrastructure proposal as both side jockey over how expansive the program should be
His intervention illustrates the pressure on Biden as Democrats continue to weigh going it alone with an expansive $6 trillion proposal.
In the meantime, some 21 senators, including 11 Republicans, have signed up to a $1 trillion plan to invest in roads, bridges and other construction projects – rather than the broader infrastructure definition unveiled by Biden, that included work on climate change and spending on child care.
That is about a quarter of Biden’s original vision but the haggling over how to pay for it continues.
Graham warned Biden against jettisoning Republican support and trying to push a bigger package through the congressional process of ‘reconciliation’ which would avoid the filibuster.
‘President Biden, you’ve got a party that’s divided, you’ve got a Republican Party that’s willing to meet you in the middle for a trillion dollars of infrastructure that could fundamentally change the way America does business in roads, ports, and bridges and accelerate electrical vehicles,’ he said.
‘You’ve got to decide what kind of president you are and what kind of presidency you want.’
The bipartisan plan offers a deal worth about $973 billion over five years, rising to $1.2 trillion over eight years. It includes $579 billion in new spending, funded in part by unspent COVID relief funds and a surcharge on electric cars.
As haggling continues, some Democrats are continuing to work on their own plan, intent on working climate change mitigation into any spending package.
And many Republicans are wary of any legislation they deem too broad.
At the same time Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee and who is working on the $6 trillion proposal, said he would not accept ‘regressive’ tax measures.
“Nobody really knows what is going to be in this bipartisan agreement, and how it is going to be paid for,’ he told NBC’s Meet the Press.
‘So if it is roads and bridges, yeah, of course we need to do that and I support that.
‘If it is regressive taxation – you know, raising the gas tax or a fee on electric vehicles, or the privatization of infrastructure – no, I wouldn’t support it.”