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Jun. 10—A bipartisan group of U.S. House lawmakers has put forward an infrastructure spending proposal a day after talks between the White House and Senate Republicans broke down.
Maine Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, helped negotiate the $1.25 trillion proposal by the Problem Solvers Caucus, a 58-member group split evenly between Republicans and Democrats. Golden serves on its infrastructure working group and attended an April summit on the topic convened by Maryland's moderate Republican governor, Larry Hogan.
"This is the largest infrastructure investment we have seen in our lifetimes — it's not inconsequential and it's completely bipartisan," Golden said in an interview late Wednesday afternoon. "What we rolled out today was the result of many weeks of hard work and we're presenting it at just the right time."
The proposal comes as President Biden considers his strategy for getting a robust package through Congress after failing to find common ground with the Senate Republicans' negotiator, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. He can either try to find a compromise that will be filibuster-proof because it wins the support of at least 10 Senate Republicans or he can try to push it through the Senate via reconciliation, which will require the support of all 50 Democratic Senators and nearly all House Democrats.
The 93-member House Progressive caucus is pushing for the latter strategy, arguing the Democratic majority is wasting valuable time trying to find compromise with the Republican Senate caucus. Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, whose office declined to clarify her position Wednesday afternoon, is a member of Progressive caucus.
Golden, who has bucked his party on several high-profile votes including COVID-19 relief and the George Floyd police reform bill, said he hopes his group's proposal will form the new starting point for negotiations over infrastructure. He said it was the product of weeks of hard work, including the April meeting at the Maryland governor's mansion, which was attended by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican, and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a conservative Democrat.
The $1.25 trillion package includes $762 billion in new spending over eight years, more than the $257 billion in the Republican Senators' proposal but less than the $1.7 trillion Biden had sought. But the new proposal does not say how the proposal would be paid for. Biden's proposal to offset the cost with an increase in corporate taxes was a point of contention with Republicans.