After weeks of negotiations, a group of Republican and Democratic senators announced on Wednesday that they reached an agreement in principle to pass a plan aimed at rebuilding and modernizing U.S. infrastructure.
The senators will present the agreement today to President Joe Biden, who has made the infrastructure plan one of his priorities.
According to Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, the White House has already given the go-ahead to the tentative agreement, so a final pact may be closer than ever.
This Wednesday afternoon, White House officials met on Capitol Hill with five Democratic and five Republican senators to work out positions on the plan, which is aimed at modernizing roads, airports, bridges and the electrical grid.
As they left the meeting, several senators said they had reached a tentative agreement.
“There is a framework agreement on the bipartisan infrastructure package,” Republican Senator Susan Collins told reporters, noting that “there are still details to be worked out.”
For his part, Republican Senator Rob Portman, one of the conservative leaders in the negotiations, explained that the White House and the two parties “do not agree on everything,” but have reached sufficient agreements to try to pass the legislation in the Senate.
The senators declined to disclose specific details of the deal, nor would they explain how it will be funded.
When negotiations began, Biden proposed a $2.25 trillion plan; but Republicans rejected it on the grounds that it would increase the deficit, so the size of the plan has been reduced to try to reach an agreement.
The last plan presented by the bipartisan group of senators included $579 billion in new spending to reach $974 billion over five years and $1.2 trillion over eight.
Asked about the agreement in principle, Biden told reporters, “I’ll tell you what I think when I get the final numbers tonight.”