Top Dem, GOP Senators Say They’re Working On $800 Billion Infrastructure Compromise

Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Sunday they were working together on a revised, $800 billion infrastructure package as part of a bipartisan effort to pass the legislation rather than see Democrats push it through alone over the outcry of Republicans.

President Joe Biden unveiled a $2.3 trillion jobs and infrastructure package last month that would be paid for, in part, by raising the corporate tax rate and increasing the global minimum tax. Republicans have largely rejected the bill for that reason, while also blasting bill inclusions they say go beyond the scope of infrastructure.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Coons and Cornyn said they’d rather work together on a moderate package and go from there, echoing other moderates’ calls for a negotiated bill. It’s unclear if other Democrats will buy into the smaller package, which falls far short of what many in the party want to see.

“I think that if we come together in a bipartisan way to pass that $800 billion hard infrastructure bill … then we show our people that we can solve their problems,” Coons said Sunday. “We’ve all agreed for a long time that we need to invest more in American infrastructure, we just disagree about how to pay for it.” 

Cornyn agreed, telling host Chris Wallace he’d prefer to leave some elements of Biden’s proposal for “another day.”

“There is a core infrastructure bill that we could pass,” the senator said on Fox News Sunday. “So let’s do it and leave the rest for another day and another fight.”

Biden is preparing to hold another meeting with lawmakers from both parties on Monday to hash out details of the proposal, and he has said repeatedly he is up for negotiation. But the president has also said he’s “not open to doing nothing.”

Last week Coons said he thought it was “likely” Democrats would pass large portions of Biden’s infrastructure plan via a process known as budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority in the chamber. Democrats hold 50 votes in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker, and they have already used the process to pass the president’s massive, $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

“I do think it is likely that we will end up passing a lot of the president’s American Jobs plan through reconciliation,” Coons told reporters last week. “But I think we should first do everything we reasonably can to negotiate bipartisan bills with our colleagues.”

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