Senators, White House in crunch time on infrastructure deal
WASHINGTON (AP) — Time running short, senators and the White House are working furiously to salvage a bipartisan infrastructure deal, with pressure intensifying on all sides to wrap up talks on President Joe Biden’s top priority.
Despite weeks of closed-door discussions, several issues are still unresolved over the nearly $1 trillion package. Spending on public transit remains in question and a new dispute flared over the regulation of broadband access. Patience was running thin Tuesday as senators accused one another of shifting the debate and picking fights over issues that had already been resolved.
Still, all sides — the White House, Republicans and Democrats — sounded upbeat that an accord was within reach as senators braced for a possible weekend session to finish the deal. No new deadlines were set.
“Good progress,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said as he opened the chamber.
Republican negotiator Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who took the lead in key talks with a top White House aide, struck a similar tone, but also acknowledged the bipartisan group was “still working" on transit and other issues.
It's a make-or-break moment that is testing the White House and Congress, and the outcome will set the stage for the next debate over Biden's much more ambitious $3.5 trillion spending package, a strictly partisan pursuit of far-reaching programs and services including child care, tax breaks and health care that touch almost every corner of American life, and that Republicans vowed Tuesday to oppose.
As talks drag on, anxious Democrats, who have slim control of the House and Senate, face a timeline to act on what would be some of the most substantial pieces of legislation in years. Republicans are weighing whether they will lend their votes for Biden’s first big...