Biden works to convince GOP senators of urgent need for infrastructure bill 'on a state-by-state basis': report

Biden works to convince GOP senators of urgent need for infrastructure bill 'on a state-by-state basis': report
President Joe Biden, joined by First Lady Jill Biden, salutes U.S Air Force Col. Stephen Snelson and his wife Catherine as he disembarks Marine One Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland prior to departing for Houston. (Official White House Photo by Katie Ricks)

Although Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it abundantly clear that he plans to obstruct President Joe Biden's agenda at every turn — just as he did with President Barack Obama — Biden has been working on a bipartisan infrastructure deal with members of the U.S. Senate. And the group ranges from Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia to centrist Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. But it's far from a done deal at this point, and according to Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Epstein, Biden is aggressively trying to show Republicans how badly infrastructure improvements are needed.

In an article published on July 1, Epstein reports, "President Joe Biden's team is intensifying its pressure on Republicans opposed to a bipartisan infrastructure agreement by spotlighting crumbling roads and bridges on a state-by-state basis that the funding could be used to rebuild. Local fact sheets, being released on Thursday, also highlight states' needs for improving water quality and expanding broadband internet."

Epstein notes that the Biden White House is "seeking to win public support for a bipartisan deal reached by a group of senators and to turn up pressure on lawmakers by quantifying the level of infrastructure disrepair in each state."

"Many Republicans are expected to oppose the bipartisan framework as too costly, while House Democrats are seeking to make changes through informal negotiations in coming weeks," according to Epstein. "The Senate's bipartisan bill — which amounts to $579 billion in new spending, or $973 billion when regular maintenance spending is factored in — initially won support from 21 senators, including 11 Republicans — enough for it to pass by regular order in that chamber. Some of those GOP senators have since objected, after it was linked by Biden to a bigger, Democrat-only budget bill."

Because an infrastructure bill is a budgetary matter, it could be passed in the Senate through the process known as budgetary reconciliation — which requires only a simple majority and not the 60 votes needed with the filibuster. Even with a simple majority, however, Biden needs to make sure that centrists like Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin are on board.

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