U.S. President Joe Biden held separate talks on Monday with two key Democratic senators about a bipartisan infrastructure plan and told them he was encouraged by the proposal but still had questions about how to pay for the bill, the White House said.
A bipartisan infrastructure plan costing a little over $1 trillion, only about a fourth of what Biden initially proposed, has been gaining support in the U.S. Senate, but disputes continue over how it should be funded.
Biden met separately with Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and “told them he was encouraged by what has taken shape but that he still has questions about the policy as well as the means for financing the bipartisan group’s proposal,” the White House said.
Biden also told the senators that he was “focused on budget resolution discussions in the Senate,” it said, an apparent reference to Democratic preparations to pass parts of his broader infrastructure plans opposed by Republicans using a procedure called reconciliation that requires only a simple majority.
There are 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats in the 100-seat Senate and Vice President Kamala Harris has the tie-breaking vote for the Democrats. Manchin and Sinema have been noncommittal when asked if they would support a reconciliation bill.