Business groups urge Biden, Congress to stick with bipartisan infrastructure talks

Business groups urge Biden, Congress to stick with bipartisan infrastructure talks
© Greg Nash

Business groups are urging President BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE and Congress to push forward on bipartisan infrastructure negotiations, as talks begin to unravel.

Chief executives at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and National Association of Manufacturers released a joint statement Wednesday saying there is a “clear path forward for bipartisan agreement on meaningful infrastructure legislation.”

“A bipartisan deal is within reach, and at a time when our competitiveness around the globe is at stake,” the executives said. “Congress and the Administration should continue bipartisan negotiations and pursue a regular order process. Now is the time to do the right thing for the country – not fall further behind.”

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Their push for a bipartisan bill comes as many Democratic lawmakers call on Biden to abandon negotiations with Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats press Schumer on removing Confederate statues from Capitol Democrats' do-or-die moment Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan MORE (D-N.Y.) said he would begin the reconciliation process on Wednesday, setting the stage for Democrats to push a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure bill through the Senate without any GOP support.

But that strategy could be threatened by Democratic defections. Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Poll from liberal group shows more voters in key states back .5T bill Why Democrats opposing Biden's tax plan have it wrong MORE (D-W.Va.) said Wednesday he hasn’t decided whether he would support passing an infrastructure bill through reconciliation.

The business groups support an infrastructure package that doesn’t raise taxes, unlike Biden’s $2.3 trillion plan which would increase the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent.

A bipartisan group of 10 senators released a $974 billion proposal last week that doesn’t include tax hikes on corporations, an omission that drew backlash from progressives.

“Specifically, instead of tax increases that would harm American businesses and workers, Congress can fund these critical infrastructure investments with a combination of public-private partnerships, user fees, and reallocated unused federal appropriations, among others,” the business groups said Wednesday.

“We also believe that public debt and bonding authority is an appropriate and logical funding source for capital projects with a multi-decade useful life span,” they added.

The groups are among the most influential forces in Washington. The Chamber of Commerce was the top lobbying spender through the first three months of 2021, shelling out $17.6 million. The Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers spent $3.8 million and $2.2 million, respectively.