US Secretary of Transportation urges to reach agreement on infrastructure plan.
Miami World – AP
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg declared Sunday that time is running out to reach a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure spending, warning that Democrats could pass the measure without Republican support if necessary.
Congress, which is in recess for the Memorial Day holiday, will return on June 7 and by then “we need a clear direction,” Buttigieg said.
President Joe Biden “has made it clear that inaction is not an option, and we don’t have unlimited time,” the secretary said.
The American people, he added, “expect us to do something.”
Biden is meeting this week with the Republican negotiator in charge of the issue, Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and has said he is open to proposals from other Republican figures. But at the same time the president has warned that time is running out to reach an agreement, and in early June there is a hearing in the House of Representatives for a proposal on transportation that is considered a fundamental piece of the broader initiative that Biden favors.
Democratic senators plan to advance plans to strengthen the US infrastructure “with or without the support of Republican senators,” warned the Democratic majority leader in the upper house, Chuck Schumer, in a letter issued Friday.
Biden had originally set Memorial Day as the deadline for reaching an agreement.
The two parties remain extremely distant. Republican senators last week unveiled their $ 928 billion proposal in response to Biden’s $ 1.7 trillion, but insisted they will not approve the initiative to increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to finance the plan.
Republicans want to transfer unused coronavirus aid funds to fund the initiative, something Democrats strongly oppose and which Biden considers impossible to implement, a source close to the presidency told the AP.
On Sunday, Capito insisted that an agreement can be reached.
“Yes, totally, I think we can reach an agreement, because both parties continue to negotiate,” said the senator.
“The president himself told me, let’s do this. We know this is not easy. We are putting all possible ideas on the negotiating table to see how we do it, how we can overcome the approval bar, “he added.