Federal infrastructure deal remains shaky

D.C. Bureau

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending agreement that President Joe Biden reached with Republicans is already hitting speed bumps.

Both Republicans and progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives are criticizing the bill, putting its future in question. The bill would need virtually every Democrat in Congress and at least 10 Senate Republicans on board to become law — and that is not the case now.

Progressive Democrats are pressuring Biden to link the bipartisan deal to their multitrillion-dollar families plan.

“That expands child care, that lowers the cost of Medicare, that support families,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., explained the plan on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The White House is scrambling to keep the deal alive, with Biden over the weekend walking back comments indicating he would veto the infrastructure deal if it came to his desk without the families plan — though he still says he wants both to pass.

Progressives think Democrats should leverage their majority in Congress to push the families plan through without the GOP.

“While we can welcome this work and welcome collaboration with Republicans … that doesn’t meant the president should be limited by Republicans, particularly when we have a House majority, we have 50 Democratic senators,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, praised the president’s new stance.

“I was very glad to see the president clarify his remarks because it was inconsistent with everything that we had been told,” Portman told ABC’s “This Week.”

“This is a bill which stands on its own,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, stated on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

He said it’s up to Democrats to determine if the deal survives.

“I think the battle that’s going on is not with Republicans, but Democrats want to do a lot of other things and I think they’re the ones that are having a hard time deciding how to proceed,” Romney said.

He said he believes at least 10 Senate Republicans will back the bipartisan deal that he helped broker. But with Congress on break for two weeks, it remains unclear how Democrats will move forward.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is drafting his own multitrillion-dollar families package in an attempt to pass the president’s agenda without Republicans.

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