President Joe Biden appeared with a bipartisan group of senators outside the White House on Thursday to announce that a deal was reached on an infrastructure package, according to The Hill, and while he claimed that both sides made concessions to reach agreement, some on the right are already voicing concerns about the plan.
In touting the collaborative nature of the negotiations that led to the announcement, Biden said, “I think it’s really important, we’ve all agreed that none of us got all that we wanted. I clearly didn’t get all I wanted. [Republicans] gave more than I think maybe they were inclined to give in the first place.”
“But this reminds me of the days we used to get an awful lot done in the United States congress, we actually worked with one another,” he observed, adding, “Bipartisan deal means compromise.”
As The Hill noted, the package referenced by Biden encompasses new spending of $579 billion across five years, totaling $973 billion over that period, and involves spending of more than $1.2 trillion across an eight-year span. Targets of the funding cover things such as roads, bridges, airports, and new infrastructure to support electric vehicles, as well as expanded broadband, water, and power infrastructure.
While Biden was clearly pleased to be able to announce consensus among those involved in the negotiations, several senators on the Republican side of the aisle quickly began sounding the alarm about key provisions in the framework, particularly when it comes to proposed sources of funding for the massive expenditures.
A measure within the proposal that delivers $40 billion in spending to the Internal Revenue Service for enhanced enforcement initiatives has garnered particularly negative attention, with Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) declaring, as The Hill noted separately, “I’m one of the skeptics on that.”
Also taking a wait-and-see approach to the proposal is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who reportedly told fellow Republican lawmakers on Thursday that he is “still learning about it,” but later in the day suggesting that Biden’s insistence on linking the package to passage of a larger reconciliation bill full of far-left agenda items is indeed problematic.
“It almost makes your head spin. An expression of bipartisanship and then an ultimatum on behalf of your left-wing base,” McConnell lamented, adding to new questions about whether the agreement announced by Biden will ultimately have legs.
Never one to miss a chance to stoke the flames of racial animus, in response to Biden’s White House announcement, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took a different line of attack on the agreement, declaring that the absence of minority legislators on the negotiating team is “how you get GOP on board” and that any deal reached under such circumstances is “unacceptable.”