The White House says it wants to pass Biden’s infrastructure package by the summer, sooner than expected

Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

  • 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 “He won’t tolerate inaction on rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, something that has long been outdated.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.

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2 Democratic Senators are already saying Biden’s infrastructure plan probably needs to change

Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

  • Democrats in the Senate are already voicing their concerns with the infrastructure package.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin says he’s concerned about the increase to the corporate tax rate.
  • And Sen. Mark Warner has “already expressed some concerns” and wants more input.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two Democratic senators have already voiced concerns about President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan.

One of them is Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia who has already proven himself to be an outsized presence in the razor-thin Democratic majority. He was also a pivotal voice against the inclusion of a $15 minimum wage in the American Rescue Plan.

Now, he’s expressed his concerns with the infrastructure package. In an interview with Talkline, a West Virginia radio show, Manchin said that, “as the bill exists today, it needs to be changed.”

Regarding Biden’s proposed increase of the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, Manchin indicated that he doesn’t support the 28% figure and stressed that the international average is a few percentage points lower. The rate “should have never been under 25%,” he said. “That’s the worldwide average. And that’s what basically every corporation would have told you was fair.”

When asked if he would not support a bill that raises the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, Manchin said: “Well, the bill basically is not going to end up that way”

Manchin also said the bill wouldn’t be passed by reconciliation “unless we vote to get on it.” When radio host Hoppy Kercheval said “they” could pass the bill by reconciliation.

“No, they can’t. Not unless we vote to get on it,” Manchin said in response. “And if I don’t vote to get on it, it’s not going anywhere.”

Meanwhile, in a briefing on Monday, Biden said he was “not at all” worried that raising that rate would drive corporations to different countries. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also argued in support of a global minimum tax rate today.

As Politico reports, Manchin isn’t alone: Another Democratic senator, Mark Warner of Virginia, has also expressed concerns.

“I’ve had some outreach from the White House, but it was more heads-up than input into the development of the package,” he said, according to Politico. “So I’ve already expressed some concerns.”

Getting Democrats on board with the infrastructure package will be key to its passage, as Senate Minority Mitch McConnell has already said that it won’t get any GOP votes in the Senate. That means Democrats will likely have to compromise internally amongst themselves,

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Democrats can learn something from the most powerful Joe in Washington

Joe Manchin 2
Sen. Joe Manchin.

  • Sen. Joe Manchin is the deciding vote in the Senate, making him the most powerful Joe in Washington.
  • While his moderate policies frustrate some Democrats, he also has an important lesson to teach them.
  • He wins in a deep red state and if more Democrats could win elections like him, then his moderate stances wouldn’t be as much of an issue.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden is the first Joe in the White House, ever. But even though he’s Commander-in-Chief, there’s another politician named Joe who may have more power than our president: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

The most powerful Joe in Washington

Joe Biden has the big ideas – infrastructure, voting rights, racial healing, jobs, guns, climate, and, of course, nailing COVID- but as we learned with the stimulus bill, Joe Manchin has the final say on what gets passed. Manchin’s opposition ultimately doomed the $15 minimum wage, reduced eligibility for stimulus checks, and forced last-minute tweaks to unemployment insurance expansion.

And when Manchin said he’d vote against Neera Tanden, Biden’s original nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, her fate was all but sealed in a Senate split 50 Democrats to 50 Republicans.

Everyone’s waiting with baited breath every time Manchin speaks – what does he think about the filibuster? When he said he’s open to making the filibuster harder, Democrats were aglow that they could pass more of Biden’s ambitious agenda.

What kind of gun safety does he support? He has publicly come out against the two gun safety bills passed by the House in March that expand background checks for most gun purchases, instead preferring background checks only for commercial gun transactions.

Where does he stand on voting rights? Manchin is the only Democrat who is not co-sponsoring the For the People Act legislation in the Senate and is pushing for bipartisan compromise.

Joe Manchin is at the exact center point of the Senate ideologically and therefore numerically. He represents among the reddest of red states, which gave loser President Donald Trump 68% of the vote, even in 2020. So Manchin stays alive by tacking towards the center, not the left.

The most narrow majority possible

Manchin being the focal point has frustrated those of us who want Biden to make real progress on his agenda. The president needed a Democratic Senate to get anything of note done, and the wise people of Georgia provided that. Now the expectations could not be higher.

Every time Joe Manchin peeks to his right a bit, there’s speculation that he’ll switch parties – which Manchin flatly dismisses – or be challenged in a primary.

But we need every Democrat we can get to maintain a majority. The moderates give the Dems the majority in the House and Senate. And if the party starts to lose purple states and swing districts, it will lose the majority.

The Democrats, of course, should have a bigger majority in the Senate. They lost a bunch of winnable races in 2018 and 2020 – such Cal Cunningham in North Carolina, who lost after a sexting scandal. If more purple or even deep red state Dems were able to get elected like Manchin, his vote and the margin wouldn’t be as much of an issue. So Manchin is invaluable in the sense that he can actually win in a place that no other Dem would really have a chance, and he can win when Dems in other, seemingly more friendly states, cannot.

In the meantime, let’s live with Manchin, because if he switched parties Mitch McConnell would be leader. If he lost in a primary, West Virginians would elect a Republican. We need Joe Manchin right now because if we lost him, we also would lose any chance at progress.

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Rep. Jim Clyburn called Joe Manchin’s push for bipartisanship over passage of voting rights legislation ‘insulting’

Jim Clyburn
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill.

  • Rep. Clyburn is highly critical of Sen. Manchin’s position on the For the People Act.
  • Manchin is the only Senate Democrat who has not signed on as a cosponsor of the bill in 2021.
  • Clyburn argues that the Senate filibuster must be put aside to pass the sweeping voting rights bill.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Democratic House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said in an interview with The Huffington Post that he felt “insulted” by how Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has approached the For the People Act, the sweeping voting rights package also known as H.R. 1 and S. 1.

Manchin is the only Democratic senator who has not signed on as a cosponsor of the legislation this year, arguing that the federal government should not infringe on election law, which has generally been dictated by individual states.

The moderate senator has emphatically stated that a major elections reform bill must be crafted and passed with bipartisan consensus, which would including voting rights.

“Pushing through legislation of this magnitude on a partisan basis may garner short-term benefits, but will inevitably only exacerbate the distrust that millions of Americans harbor against the US government,” he said in a statement in late March.

Clyburn alleged that Manchin was elevating bipartisanship with Republicans over the voting rights of minority groups in the US.

“I’m insulted when he tells me that it’s more important to maintain a relationship with the minority in the US Senate than it is for you to maintain a relationship with the minority of voters in America,” Clyburn told The Huffington Post. “That’s insulting to me.”

Clyburn said Manchin was jeopardizing Democratic congressional majorities by not backing legislation that would reverse many of the most stringent voting restrictions being implemented by GOP-controlled states, including Georgia, where Sen. Raphael Warnock is up for reelection in 2022.

“Since when do their rights take precedence over your fellow Democrat Warnock, who saw his state just pass laws to keep him from getting reelected?” he asked. “And you’re going to say it’s more important for you to protect 50 Republicans in the Senate than for you to protect your fellow Democrat’s seat in Georgia. That’s a bunch of crap.”

Read more: Here are 9 hurdles Biden’s infrastructure plan would have to overcome in Congress before it can become law

The House passed H.R. 1 by a 220-210 vote in early March with almost unanimous backing among Democrats and no Republican support.

GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has harshly criticized the bill, calling it a “power grab.” His conservative-dominated Republican caucus is overwhelmingly in agreement, making bipartisan support incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

With the likelihood of a GOP filibuster facing S. 1, Clyburn said that Senate Democrats need to alter filibuster rules to move the bill through the chamber.

“The issue of civil rights and voting rights, these constitutional issues, should never be sacrificed on the altar of the filibuster,” he said. “I’ve been saying that for a long time.”

He added: “I don’t understand why we can’t see that my constitutional rights should not be subjected to anybody’s filibuster.”

Clyburn said that if the party allowed the For the People Act to falter in the Senate, then it would “pay the biggest price it has ever paid at the polls” in 2022.

“That is an actual fact,” he said. “I think I know Black people. I’ve been Black 80 years.”

Clyburn, one of the most prominent Democratic politicians in the Deep South and the figure most credited with reviving President Joe Biden’s campaign in the 2020 Democratic primaries, said that he feels as though the president will push for the bill to get through the Senate.

After Biden won the presidential election last November, he gave a nod to Black voters in his acceptance speech, saying that the highly influential group and pillar of his electoral support “always had my back, and I’ll have yours.”

Recalling Biden’s statement from last year, Clyburn reiterated the president’s commitment to voting rights.

“The best way to have the backs of Black folks is to ensure the constitutional rights to cast an unfettered vote – there ain’t no better way than to do that,” Clyburn said. “Joe Biden is not going to allow the voting rights of Black people to be sacrificed on the altar of the filibuster.”

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82 unions and liberal groups urge Biden to go bigger on tax hikes and hold the wealthy accountable

joe biden
President Joe Biden.

  • 82 liberal groups urged Biden to go bigger on tax hikes and hold the wealthy accountable.
  • They cited Biden’s campaign proposals of reversing Trump’s tax cuts and investing in IRS enforcement.
  • Despite GOP opposition in Congress, the majority of Republican voters support tax increases.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden is unveiling the first part of his multitrillion-dollar infrastructure proposal today, which could include up to $3.5 trillion in tax hikes. Some unions and progressive organizations are saying he should go even bigger.

On Tuesday, 81 national organizations, led by Americans for Tax Fairness, sent a letter to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, commending the administration’s efforts to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and encouraging the president to go further. The letter said Biden’s tax plans were the “boldest of any major party presidential nominee in modern American history.”

The tax proposals have “received widespread media coverage and, perhaps more significant, your boldly progressive tax plan was heavily attacked by your political opponents, who spent untold millions of dollars and claimed falsely that the middle-class would pay more,” the letter said. “Yet, you won the most votes ever of any US presidential candidate, with a central promise of your campaign to make the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. You have a clear mandate to pursue your agenda.”

The letter, which was signed by AFL-CIO and MoveOn, said that even among Republicans, raising taxes is popular. For example, a New York Times survey from November found that two-thirds of respondents, including 45% of Republican voters, supported tax increases on people making over $400,000, and an Americans for Tax Fairness survey from October found that 71% of Americans supported raising the income tax rate, including 51% of Republicans.

The best way to hold the wealthy accountable, according to the letter, is to reverse the “worst aspects” of former President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), including Biden’s proposals to:

  • Lift the corporate tax rate to 28% from the current 21%;
  • Restore the estate tax to its 2009 levels, meaning that still only the richest 0.59% of estates would get taxed;
  • And return the top marginal tax rate on the highest incomes to 39.6%, from the current 37%.

Aside from the TCJA proposed changes, Biden also proposed additional tax reforms during his campaign, like investing in Internal Revenue Service enforcement of high-income taxpayers and imposing a “financial-risk fee” on large Wall Street banks.

The letter said that even along with Biden’s campaign proposals, he could implement many other reforms, including a 10-percentage-point surtax on all incomes about $2 million, a financial transaction tax on bond and stock trades, and a wealth tax on ultra-millionaires.

Biden’s tax hikes have already faced opposition in Congress. While moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said an infrastructure proposal could be as large as $4 trillion using tax hikes as funding, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that won’t win his party’s support.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase,” McConnell told reporters last week. Republicans even recently introduced a bill to repeal the estate tax, which would only affect 0.6% of farm estates.

But progressive lawmakers are continuing to push for measures that hold the ultra-rich accountable. Although Politico reported on Tuesday that Biden will not use a wealth tax to fund infrastructure, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has led the effort to propose a 2% tax on households with net worths over $50 million.

“A wealth tax is critical for raising revenue, and that revenue is critical for raising opportunity,” Warren said on Twitter on March 1. “We build a future for all of our kids by investing in opportunity. This is one way we can make this government work for everyone – not just the rich and powerful.”

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Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he remains opposed to removing the filibuster, amid growing pressure from liberals to erase it

Joe Manchin
Sen. Joe Manchin on Capitol Hill.

  • Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin remains opposed to dumping the filibuster.
  • Some Democrats want the rule erased to overcome GOP opposition and enact sweeping reforms.
  • Manchin’s support is vital if Democrats are to reform or remove the rule.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said that he remains opposed to dumping the filibuster, a Senate rule that progressives want removed to overcome GOP opposition and enact sweeping reforms on gun control laws and voting rights.

The senator from West Virginia, a Republican-leaning state, has put a break on a push by some Democrats to use the party’s control of Congress to enact major reforms and sidestep GOP opposition and spoiling tactics.

“Pushing through legislation of this magnitude on a partisan basis may garner short-term benefits, but will inevitably only exacerbate the distrust that millions of Americans harbor against the US government,” Manchin said in a statement Friday.

In remarks to The New York Times in an article published Saturday, Manchin defended the filibuster, saying that it had been designed to encourage bipartisan consensus and erasing it could destroy the Senate.

He also signaled opposition to suspending the rule for certain bills, as some Democrats have suggested.

“You’re either committed or not,” he remarked of the rule.

Manchin’s remarks have special weight because Democrats need the backing of all 50 of their senators to get bills passed or rules reformed, with the chamber currently evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats and Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaker.

The filibuster has been used as a spoiling tactic by Republicans and Democrats to block bills in recent years.

To overcome a filibuster and pass bills, 60 Senate votes are needed, meaning that Democrats will need to secure at least 10 Republicans’ support to overcome likely GOP filibusters on issues including gun control reform and voting rights.

The case for tighter federal gun control laws was highlighted by mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado, in the past fortnight, say advocates.

Democrats say that a federal voting rights bill is needed to counteract a push by state Republican legislatures to restrict voting access. No GOP senators have signaled support for reforming gun laws or expanding voting rights amid deep partisan divides on the issues.

But Manchin did say to the Times that he was open to reforming the filibuster and changing the rule to require senators to actually voice their opposition to a bill and speak out in the chamber. In theory, it’s a change that would make it harder to use the filibuster as a spoiling tactic and has been backed by President Joe Biden.

Current rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish, and on any topic they choose. In 2013 Sen. Ted Cruz spoke for 21 hours to stop the Affordable Care Act. During the filibuster, he read ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ by Dr. Seuss.

Manchin said his main goal is to get Republicans and Democrats in the Senate talking again.

“America’s declining trust in the government and each other makes it harder to solve key problems. That trust will continue to diminish unless we, as members of Congress, transcend partisanship,” he remarked in Friday’s statement.

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Secretary Pete may want to tax how much you drive to pay for Biden’s infrastructure bill

pete buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg.

  • Biden is set to unveil a $3 trillion infrastructure bill next week, but its funding is undecided.
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is eyeing a mileage tax as a way to fund the bill.
  • Lawmakers have disagreed on funding, with the GOP position against any kind of tax increase.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden is set to unveil a massive $3 trillion infrastructure bill next week and many lawmakers have floated various ideas on how to fund it. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has an idea: a mileage tax.

In a CNBC interview on Friday, Buttigieg discussed Biden’s upcoming proposal and said the plan will lead to a net gain for Americans, rather than a net cost, since infrastructure is “a classic example of the kind of investment that has a return on that investment.”

“That’s one of many reasons why we think this is so important,” Buttigieg said. “This is a jobs vision as much as it is an infrastructure vision, a climate vision and more.”

When it comes to funding, Buttigieg said revenue will likely come from different sources and is something that he still needs to discuss with Congress, but a mileage tax could be an effective option. Introducing that would also encourage the use of electric vehicles, which has been a goal of Biden’s since the start of his presidential campaign.

“I think that shows a lot of promise,” Buttigieg said. “If we believe in that so-called user-pays principle, the idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive.”

Buttigieg added that Build America Bonds – Obama-era bonds financed by the federal government – could also be revived to fund the infrastructure bill.

The president is set to unveil his infrastructure proposal in Pittsburgh next week, and it could include up to $3 trillion in spending, split into separate packages for repairing crumbling infrastructure and for care-economy funding for initiatives including free community college and universal pre-K.

Sen. John Thune, the Senate’s second-ranked Republican, told reporters on Tuesday that splitting up the infrastructure bill is a “pretty cynical ploy” by Democrats to attempt to gain GOP support for certain measures.

And even some moderate Democrats have expressed concerns about passing an infrastructure bill without Republican support. Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia told Axios that he likely won’t support another reconciliation bill.

“I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them [Republicans] out completely before we start trying,” Manchin said.

Buttigieg on Thursday urged the House Transportation Committee to make a “generational investment” in infrastructure and combat racial inequity and climate change.

He said: “There is near-universal recognition that a broader recovery will require a national commitment to fix and transform America’s infrastructure.”

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Democrats failed to get anywhere near a united front on a $15 minimum wage, suggesting the measure is doomed for now

Chuck Schumer Bernie Sanders
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during a Capitol Hill press conference in 2018.

  • Senate Democrats were unable to agree on a proposed minimum wage increase, reports said.
  • Many – including the White House – support a $15 an hour federal minimum.
  • But several Senate Democrats oppose it, presenting a seemingly impassable obstacle.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Democrats were unable to reach an agreement on how best to overcome their differences and push forward with proposals to raise the federal minimum wage, according to reports Tuesday.

A meeting was convened by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday, reported Politico and the Punch Bowl politics newsletter.

It was said to include 8 moderate Democratic senators who opposed a push led by Sen. Bernie Sanders to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. It is currently $7.25 an hour.

Sanders was also there, along with others from the progressive wing of the party’s Senate caucus, according to the report.

Democrats suffered a defeat on the $15 wage earlier in March, when a Senate official ruled that it could not be part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill.

The Senate Parliamentarian – a nonpartisan official – said that a minimum wage hike was beyond the scope of the stimulus package, which was being considered under a special mechanism called budget reconciliation, which allows bills to pass with fewer votes.

8 moderate Democrats subsequently voted against an attempt to have the minimum wage increase included again.

They argued that the bill would mean extra costs for businesses they can ill afford when they are struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The meeting was an attempt to bridge the divide on the issue between Democrats, but Punch Bowl News, a Washington DC newsletter, reported that no breakthroughs were made Tuesday.

According to the outlet, Sanders and Sen. Joe Manchin, an influential moderate from West Virginia, battled over the size of a proposed increase, with Sanders arguing for it to be increased to $15 and Manchin favoring $11.

Another sticking point is what level the minimum wage should be for workers who get tips, like bar workers or servers in restaurants, according to Politico.

The impasse places the future of the minimum wage increase in question. The reports suggest the party has a long way to go before achieving consensus within its own ranks let alone mustering the 60 votes required to overcome a likely Republican filibuster.

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Minimum-wage talks restart as progressive and moderate Democrats reportedly huddle with Chuck Schumer

Chuck Schumer Bernie Sanders
Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during a Capitol Hill press conference in 2018.

  • Democratic Senators are meeting on Tuesday to discuss a minimum wage increase, HuffPo reports.
  • The meeting will include all 7 moderate Democrats who voted against the increase in the stimulus.
  • Bernie Sanders of Vermont has been adamant that the minimum wage can be no less than $15 an hour.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Although a federal minimum wage increase to $15 an hour didn’t make it into the stimulus bill, Senate Democrats are meeting today to find a way to get it done somehow, a Democratic source told HuffPost.

According to the source, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will meet with the progressive senators who led the push for the $15 minimum wage increase, including Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Patty Murray of Washington, and Ron Wyden of Oregon. But the meeting will also include all seven moderate Democrats who voted against the $15 minimum wage hike: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Chris Coons of Delaware, Tom Carper of Delaware, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, and Jon Tester of Montana.

When the Senate parliamentarian voted against including a minimum wage increase in the stimulus bill, Sanders – who co-sponsored a bill to raise the wage to $15 an hour by 2025 – promised he wouldn’t give up on efforts to get the job done.

“But let me be very clear: If we fail in this legislation, I will be back,” Sanders told reporters on March 1. “We’re going to keep going and, if it takes 10 votes, we’re going to raise that minimum wage very shortly.”

And in a call with reporters on Friday, progressive lawmakers, including Rep. Ro Khanna of California, joined labor leaders and activists to strategize how they could pass a minimum wage increase through Congress, whether by reconciliation or attaching it to a must-pass bill.

“There needs to be a clear plan, a clear strategy,” Khanna told The Washington Post in an interview. “It’s not enough to just say, well, we’re committed to this, we want to get it done.”

Manchin has previously said that a $15 minimum wage increase is too high and advocated for an $11 per hour increase instead. However, Sanders has remained adamant on achieving a $15 per hour increase to lift Americans out of poverty.

“In my mind, the great economic crisis that we face today is half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck,” Sanders said on Twitter on March 5. “And many millions of workers are, frankly, working for starvation wages. Raising the minimum wage is what the American people want, and it’s what we have got to do.”

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Biden advisors reportedly plan $3 trillion more spending on infrastructure, universal pre-K, climate-change initiatives

Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • Joe Biden’s economic advisors are drafting a proposal to recommend $3 trillion more spending.
  • The New York Times reports the White House could split its colossal infrastructure plan in two.
  • The first part would focus on infrastructure and climate. The second may set up universal pre-K.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Instead of pushing a single colossal spending bill through Congress, President Joe Biden’s advisors are reportedly expected to present a proposal this week that includes $3 trillion in spending aimed at boosting the economy and fighting climate change through separate legislative pieces.

The New York Times first reported that Biden’s economic advisors plan to recommend as much as $3 trillion to narrow economic inequality, reduce carbon emissions, and improve American manufacturing, beginning with an infrastructure bill. They cited people familiar with the plan, along with documents outlining its provisions.

The documents said the proposed package would spend heavily on infrastructure improvements, with nearly $1 trillion in spending alone for roads, bridges, electric vehicles, and more.

The second plan would be people-focused and spend heavily on education and programs to increase the participation of women in the labor force, including free community college, universal pre-K education, and a national paid leave program. Those elements are targeted at encouraging people to reenter the workforce and strengthen the overall economic recovery.

Administration officials said that while details on funding for the package are not yet determined, it might be financed by tax increases on the wealthy. Biden has already indicated that he would include a federal tax hike on high earners in his next big economic package, which would be the first major federal tax hike in nearly three decades.

Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported Monday that Biden is likely to look at tweaks to the current tax code, instead of a new tax targeting wealth.

But whether Republicans will support one big bill, or a series of legislative pieces, depends largely on funding, and Republican lawmakers have already indicated they will not support a tax hike on the rich.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters last week. The Republican opposition to tax increases could prompt Democrats to bypass the GOP using reconciliation, the same tactic used to enact the $1.9 trillion stimulus law, but passing it more piecemeal could win bipartisan approval for certain aspects of the spending.

Groups of lawmakers from both parties have already met with Biden to discuss an upcoming infrastructure bill.

Democrats, like Rep. Peter DeFazio, the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, suggested using reconciliation in a CNBC interview to pass the next bill, but Rep. Sam Graves, ranking member of the House infrastructure panel, said in a statement that it “cannot be a ‘my way or the highway’ approach like last Congress.”

Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said in an “Axios on HBO” interview that an infrastructure bill could be as large as $4 trillion if it’s funded by tax hikes but that he would not support reconciliation.

“I’m not going to do it through reconciliation,” Manchin said. “I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them [Republicans] out completely before we start trying.”

The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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