The bill’s price tag at US$973-billion over five years, or US$1.2-trillion over eight years,
is a scaled-back but still significant piece of Mr. Biden’s broader proposals.
It includes more than a half-trillion U.S. dollars in new spending and could open the door
to the President’s more sweeping US$4-trillion proposals later on.
“When we can find common ground, working across party lines, that is what I will seek to
do,” said Mr. Biden, who deemed the deal “a true bipartisan effort, breaking the ice that
too often has kept us frozen in place.”
The President stressed that “neither side got everything they wanted in this deal; that’s
what it means to compromise,” and said that other White House priorities would be
tackled separately in a congressional budget process known as reconciliation
He made clear that the two items would be done “in tandem” and that he would not sign
the bipartisan deal without the other, bigger piece. Progressive members of Congress
declared they would hold to the same approach.
“This reminds me of the days when we used to get an awful lot done up in the United
States Congress,” said Mr. Biden, a former Delaware senator, putting his hand on the
shoulder of a stoic-looking Republican Senator Rob Portman as the President made a
surprise appearance with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to announce the deal outside
the White House.
The deal was struck after months of the partisan rancor that has consumed Washington
while Mr. Biden has insisted that something could be done despite skepticism from many
in his own party. Led by Mr. Portman, an Ohio Republican, and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema
of Arizona, the group included some of the more independent lawmakers in the Senate,
some known for bucking their parties.
“You know there are many who say bipartisanship is dead in Washington,” Ms. Sinema
said. “We can use bipartisanship to solve these challenges.”
Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, said, “It sends an important message to the
the world as well that America can function, can get things done.”
The proposal includes both new and existing spending and highlights the struggle
lawmakers faced in coming up with ways to pay for it
The investments include US$109-billion on roads and highways, US$15-billion on
electric vehicle infrastructure and transit systems and US$65-billion toward broadband,
among other expenditures on airports, drinking-water systems, and resiliency efforts to
tackle climate change.