Vice President Kamala Harris is convening a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday to discuss investing in broadband, in the White House’s latest push for an infrastructure package.
The afternoon meeting comes as the Biden administration and Republicans are in intense negotiations but appear to be far from reaching a deal.
“We truly believe that, as it relates to infrastructure as a general matter and broadband as the subject of today’s conversation, frankly the subject is not only bipartisan but the way Americans experience it is nonpartisan,” the vice president said in remarks at the beginning of the meeting, according to a White House pool report.
Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, on Tuesday said GOP senators are preparing a roughly $1 trillion plan for infrastructure spending that’s expected to be presented to the White House on Thursday. The price tag is an increase from Republicans’ original proposal — but the group insists on preserving the 2017 tax cuts as debate continues over how to pay for any package.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the administration is looking forward to seeing the new Republican proposal, but said they’d have to propose how to pay for it if not through rolling back tax cuts.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported Tuesday that a small bipartisan group of senators is sketching out a new infrastructure package, which includes fresh ways to pay for it. Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, one member of the group, reportedly said it has come to a “pretty close consensus” on key elements of a plan that focuses largely on traditional infrastructure including roads, bridges and broadband internet.
Joining Harris at the meeting either in person or virtually were Rep. Jim Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat; Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, a Washington Republican; Rep. Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat; Sen. Ben Ray Lujan, a New Mexico Democrat; Rep. Mike Doyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat; Rep. Bob Latta, an Ohio Republican; Sen. Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican; and Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
finished barely positive on Wednesday, but as MarketWatch reports, the broader market
clinched modest gains, powered by a rise in energy and consumer discretionary as investors appeared to grow assured that the Federal Reserve wouldn’t react to rising inflation by rapidly withdrawing easy-money policies.
The Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF
meanwhile, rose 0.8% on Wednesday.