News: Biden meets with U.S. lawmakers on infrastructure push.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden met for more than an hour Thursday with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the White House’s proposed pursuit of a massive spike in spending on projects to restore crumbling U.S. infrastructure.
The big hurdle for more than a decade has been paying trillions of dollars in new spending when neither Congress nor lawmakers have been willing to raise taxes or find new sources of income.
Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg met with members of the House of Representatives, including Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, and Congressman Sam Graves, the best Republican on the panel.
Biden said at the start of the meeting that his aim was for the United States to “once again lead the world across the board in terms of infrastructure” and that this would “make us a lot more competitive around the world”. The White House has refused to say how much Biden plans to spend on infrastructure or how much he would pay for it.
DeFazio said after the meeting that Biden “wants to act as soon as possible. He wants it to be very big and he thinks that is the key to the recovery package. “
Graves said the infrastructure plan must be bipartisan and a funding mechanism is needed.
“It cannot be a ‘my way or the highway’ approach like the last Congress,” Graves said, referring to previous democratic laws. “You can’t turn a highway bill into a multi-trillion dollar bill or it will lose Republican support.”
Biden met with a non-partisan group of senators on infrastructure last month.
Democrats closely control both the House and the Senate. Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, was unable to reach an agreement with lawmakers on a major bill to repair and replace aging and dangerous bridges, airports, water pipes, and other projects.
As a presidential candidate, Biden pledged to invest $ 2 trillion in repairing highways, bridges and airports. Construction of climate-resistant houses; Cabling of cities for broadband internet; Promote the production of fuel efficient cars and install charging stations for electric vehicles.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional coverage from Jeff Mason; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Will Dunham
Original Source © Reuters