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Biden visits Michigan to tout bipartisan infrastructure plan

Biden pushes infrastructure plan
Biden pushes infrastructure plan 07:51

President Biden traveled to Michigan on Saturday as part of his ongoing efforts to promote a bipartisan infrastructure proposal, and his plans for investing in child care, health care and education.

Accompanied by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Mr. Biden toured a cherry orchard at a fruit farm in Central Lake. He landed in nearby Traverse City earlier on Saturday, which is the site of the National Cherry Festival this week.

Key members of the administration are traveling over the holiday weekend to rally support for the infrastructure proposal and Mr. Biden's policies. First Lady Jill Biden is in Maine and New Hampshire on Saturday, and Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting a union training center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mr. Biden previously touted the infrastructure plan in a trip to Wisconsin last week, saying that it will provide historic investments in roads, bridges, clean drinking water and rail.

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President Joe Biden is greeted by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, left, Senator Debbie Stabenow, second from left, Senator Gary Peters and Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers, right, as he arrives at Cherry Capital Airport Saturday. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The infrastructure proposal was negotiated by a bipartisan group of senators and endorsed by the president in June. The package would cost nearly $1 trillion over five years, with $579 billion in new spending. Legislative text for the proposal has not been released, but there is a basic framework with a breakdown on spending and proposed methods of paying for it.

The bill will be narrowly focused on "traditional" infrastructure, like roads, bridges, improving railways and expanding broadband. It would spend $312 billion for transportation, including $109 billion for roads, bridges and major projects, $49 billion for public transportation and $66 billion for passenger and freight rail. It also dedicates smaller amounts to safety, airports, electric buses and electric vehicle infrastructure — a priority for Mr. Biden.

The proposal also includes $65 billion for broadband infrastructure, $55 billion for water infrastructure, $73 billion for power infrastructure and $47 billion for resiliency.

A White House fact sheet said some of the funding will come from redirecting unused unemployment insurance relief funds and other unused money from the most recent coronavirus stimulus bill, which Mr. Biden had initially opposed. Other funding streams will come from allowing states to sell or purchase unused toll credits, extending expiring customs user fees, 5G auctions proceedings, the selling of petroleum reserves, public-private partnerships and tax gap enforcement.

The president has also pledged to support a reconciliation bill that will include his priorities on so-called "human" infrastructure, such as child care and health care. A reconciliation bill only needs a simple majority to pass, meaning that it can be approved without any Republican support.

Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders is currently crafting the budget resolution and estimates the reconciliation bill could cost as much as $5 or $6 trillion, depending on what's included in the bipartisan proposal. But any reconciliation bill will also need the support of moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who is reluctant to consider a bill over $2 trillion.

Meanwhile, the House voted last week to approve a separate $715 billion five-year transportation bill that shares some similarities with the bipartisan proposal.

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