Problem Solvers Caucus backs bipartisan infrastructure deal
The Problem Solvers Caucus of House moderates on Tuesday backed the infrastructure framework that President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators announced last month, and urged the House to hold a stand-alone vote on legislation based on the deal.
“The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus strongly supports the Senate infrastructure framework, which is closely aligned with our own ‘Building Bridges’ proposal released last month,” the group said in a statement Tuesday.
“In light of the bipartisan, bicameral genesis of the framework, we encourage an expeditious, stand-alone vote in the House and thank our bipartisan Senate partners and the Biden Administration for working so closely with us to demonstrate that cooperation is still possible in Washington,” the statement continued.
The endorsement from the Problem Solvers Caucus, a group of 58 lawmakers equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, comes as many lawmakers are seeking to enact infrastructure legislation this year but face challenges in doing so.
Biden is backing a bipartisan framework that calls for $579 billion in new spending over five years and $1.2 trillion in total spending over eight years. The framework calls for the infrastructure spending to be paid for through mechanisms such as strengthening enforcement of tax laws and repurposing unused funds from coronavirus relief legislation.
The president and congressional Democrats also want to pass a Democrat-only bill through the budget reconciliation process that would include spending in areas such as education and child care and would be paid for through tax increases on the wealthy and corporations.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has emphasized that she doesn’t want the House to vote on a bipartisan package until the Senate also passes a reconciliation bill, a sentiment also supported by many progressives.
But the Problem Solvers Caucus thinks that a bill based on the bipartisan framework should get a vote on its own. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a co-chair of the caucus, predicted that a vote solely on a bipartisan measure would receive enough votes to pass.
“I think we’ll get the Democrats. If we had a standalone vote on this tomorrow, this would pass,” he said on MSNBC on Friday. “I would urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come together. We should get this done. It doesn’t mean we can’t, of course, also do reconciliation next.”