[National-fiber-coalition] FW: Republicans roll out a fresh infrastructure offer, amid progressive unrest

Ernesto Falcon ernesto at eff.org
Tue Jun 15 15:46:11 PDT 2021

Will flag the 10 days language below

Ernesto Omar Falcon
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Electronic Frontier Foundation
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From: POLITICO Pro <alert at email.politicopro.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 1:04 PM
To: Ernesto Falcon <ernesto at eff.org>
Subject: Republicans roll out a fresh infrastructure offer, amid progressive unrest


Republicans roll out a fresh infrastructure offer, amid progressive unrest
By Sam Mintz, Tanya Snyder | 06/15/2021 04:02 PM EDT

The White House is privately assuring Republicans that there’s still time for infrastructure negotiations despite grumbling from progressive Democrats, as GOP senators at the center of negotiations try to drum up support for a bipartisan compromise among their own ranks.

White House counselor Steve Ricchetti told House Democrats on Tuesday <https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/15/liberal-rebellion-senate-infrastrucutre-494585?source=email> that the White House will reevaluate whether a deal is possible in 10 days, which some lawmakers interpreted as declaring a new deadline despite White House assurances that it was not intended as “a deadline or cutoff.”

Sen. Susan Collins<https://cd.politicopro.com/member/51168?source=email> (R-Maine), one of the negotiators from the bipartisan "G20" group negotiating with the White House, said she spoke to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Tuesday morning. “He assured me that the administration is serious in wanting a bipartisan package,” Collins said.

The newest proposal: Republicans from the G-20 briefed their caucus during Tuesday party lunches on the latest GOP offer, a $1 trillion proposal focused on physical infrastructure with $579 billion in new spending. Though the amount of new spending is higher than previous GOP offers, the pay-fors being suggested are controversial and in some cases have already been dismissed by the White House.

That includes indexing the federal gas tax to inflation, which beyond already being panned by the White House would only deliver less than 2 percent of the revenue needed to fund the bill.

There are things the GOP caucus can like in the proposal, like its focus on "hard" infrastructure. But other aspects, like gas tax indexing, will be a harder sell. And it isn't clear where the GOP's own leadership is on the matter.

Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell<https://cd.politicopro.com/member/51216?source=email> was ambivalent Tuesday and would not say whether he supports the deal.

“I would love to see us get an outcome on infrastructure," he said after the Senate GOP meeting Tuesday. “Put me down as listening and hopeful.”

Democrats are shaky, too: There are threats on the Democratic side, too, primarily that an increasing number of progressives are saying they won’t vote on a compromise bill, amping up the pressure on just moving on to budget reconciliation.

“I think these guys have been talking for quite a while now,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders <https://cd.politicopro.com/member/51605?source=email> (I-Vt.) “And we have an enormous amount of work that has to be done in developing the reconciliation bill … We have to pass a major, major piece of legislation which goes well beyond physical infrastructure, which goes into the needs of working families in this country, which goes into the issue of raising the money in a fair and progressive way.”

Two-pronged approach: Some have suggested a dual path process where the White House continues to attempt to negotiate a bipartisan deal while moving forward with the steps needed to pass a reconciliation bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer<https://cd.politicopro.com/member/51231?source=email> said he is hoping to pass a budget resolution passed in July, alongside the bipartisan proposal.

"Both are moving forward: the bipartisan track and the track on reconciliation, and both we hope to get done in the month of July," he said Tuesday. “I think there are large numbers of people in our caucus — and I sympathize with this — who will not vote for a bipartisan bill unless they’re quite certain what will be in reconciliation.”

But the two-pronged procedure has worried some Democrats. “I think it might be hard to get agreement on both simultaneously,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen<https://cd.politicopro.com/member/66834?source=email> (D-N.H.)

Back where it started: In many ways, the negotiations remain where they were months ago, with the core of the two parties far apart on the fundamentals and a small, but powerful, group committed to trying to work together in some capacity.

Ricchetti’s set date of June 24 puts a new marker on the calendar, but other deadlines for progress, like Memorial Day and June 7, have come and gone and the talks have dragged on.

The new date isn’t fazing some members of the Senate group. “We’re going to either get people on board or not,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy<https://cd.politicopro.com/member/66858?source=email> (R-La.).
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