A group of 21 Senators led by Kyrsten Sinema (D-Az) and Rob Portman (R-Oh) is on board with an infrastructure deal.
A recent sign-on of 11 Republicans points to steam building on a deal, reviving hope of a bipartisan deal after all, when Democrats were doubtful of the necessary addition of 10 Republicans to any deal.
The group of 11 Republicans, 9 Democrats, and one Independent includes centrists Joe Manchin, Mitt Romney, and Bill Cassidy, along with Sinema and Portman.
Several Democratic Senators are upset that the proposal leaves out investments in combating climate change, as well as jobs and family plans.
A leaked framework of the deal shows $579 billion in new spending. Key categories include roads and bridges, rail, public transit, airports, electric vehicles, broadband, power infrastructure, water infrastructure and coastal resiliency. The pay-fors are still being negotiated, including a change to the gas tax, tying it to inflation, while imposing similar, new charges on the owners of electric vehicles.
Reporters are being told that the leaked deal is not the precise deal presented to the White House, as there is assurances there would be no gas tax tied to inflation or new taxes for electric vehicle user fees.
Senate Leader Schumer has repeated his intention to be open to compromise on the infrastructure bill, while pursuing reconciliation to advance the other important proposals — needing only 51 votes.
Many party lawmakers have made clear they would not support any bipartisan infrastructure deal emerging in the Senate unless they could move their robust reconciliation package essentially in tandem.
Biden’s senior aides still consider a deal doable, though very hard, and they know it will be declared dead and then resurrected many more times before this is over.