Thursday June 24th 2021
“We have a deal”
Biden reports agreement in the infrastructure dispute
US President Biden wants to modernize his country’s infrastructure with an ambitious program. But for the implementation, the Democrat depends on the votes of the Republicans. After talking to senators on both sides, he is now reporting a breakthrough in the negotiations.
In the struggle for an infrastructure package worth hundreds of billions of dollars, US President Joe Biden has announced an agreement. “We have a deal,” Biden said after meeting a group of Senators from his Democratic Party and opposition Republicans in the White House. “We made serious compromises on both sides.” Biden wrote on Twitter that the infrastructure package would create “millions of American jobs”.
A group of five Senators each from the Democrats and Republicans had put forward a compromise proposal in the dispute over massive investments in infrastructure. According to US media reports, it has a total volume of around 950 billion dollars, around 796 billion euros. More than $ 550 billion of this is new funds, the remainder being reallocated budget items.
In the spring, Biden announced plans to spend around two trillion dollars over the next eight years to renew the country’s infrastructure. The package includes the modernization of around 32,000 kilometers of roads, 10,000 bridges, several airports and investments in local public transport and electromobility.
However, the plan – particularly the financing of spending through tax increases – met with considerable resistance from Republicans. In previous negotiations with members of Congress it had become clear that Biden would have to cut back on the scope of the package in order to get sufficient approval in parliament.
Biden’s Democrats have a majority in both houses of Congress. In the Senate, however, the majority is so thin that Republicans can block bills. Because in the regular legislative process, 60 of the 100 senators must first approve the vote on a bill. The Democrats have only 50 seats and the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris as President of the Senate.
Exact details of the agreement initially remained open. Despite the deal, it is also not said that a smooth passage in Congress is imminent. Should important concerns no longer be part of the envisaged package, there could be resistance from Biden’s Democrats.