- The White House said it wanted to approve a massive infrastructure package by the summer.
- “At the end of the day, the president’s red line is inaction,” Psaki said at a news briefing.
- The timeline underscores the Biden administration’s effort to rapidly approve a massive jobs plan.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The White House said on Tuesday that it is aiming to get President Joe Biden’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure package approved within months, an ambitious timeline that underscores the administration’s desire to quickly muscle a plan through Congress.
“We’d like to see progress by May and certainly a package through by the summer,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a daily news conference.
“At the end of the day, the president’s red line is inaction,” she said. “He won’t tolerate inaction on rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, something that has long been outdated. He believes we need to invest in that so we can improve the lives of ordinary Americans and make it easier to do business.”
The timeline lines up with what Democrats in Congress recently outlined. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week that Democrats aimed to formally assemble the package in early May.
“We look forward to writing a bill, maybe much of it in the first week of May for the infrastructure piece of it. And we’ll see when the Senate then will act upon those proposals,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference on Thursday.
The speaker of the House later added that Democrats would only advance the measure once they have “the best possible bill,” a step that gives them some room to adjust. Pelosi told House Democrats on a caucus call last week she wanted to approve a bill by July 4, though she conceded it could slip to the end of the month, according to a senior Democratic aide.
Some Democrats have eyed September as a possible deadline for action, given the need for Congress to renew a highway funding bill by then.
Biden unveiled a large $2 trillion plan last week, the first of two proposals aimed at modernizing the nation’s infrastructure. The plan contained new funds to repair aging roads and bridges, eliminate lead pipes from water systems, and set up new rural broadband networks.
It also included money to support in-home care of elderly Americans to upgrade the nation’s electric grid and steadily phase out fossil fuels to combat climate change.
The second proposal, with major spending on childcare and education, is set to be released later this month. The pair of plans will form the centerpiece of Biden’s economic agenda.
However, the package has also set off substantial GOP opposition for its large scope and proposed tax increases on multinational corporations. Republicans are also critical of the swift timeline from Democrats in recent weeks.
That opposition, however, isn’t confined to Republicans. At least two Democratic senators, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia, say major elements of Biden’s plan should be adjusted to gain their votes. Manchin said he wanted a smaller corporate tax hike from 21% to 25% instead – not the 28% rate Biden is seeking.
On Monday evening, a top Senate official ruled that Democrats could revisit an earlier budget resolution used for the $1.9 trillion stimulus package to approve another bill without Republican support. That potentially opens the door for them to implement at least two more tax-and-spending measures this year on party-line votes, which could mean they won’t need any Republican votes at all for Biden’s next signature pieces of legislation.