FILE PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to news reporters following the announcement of a bipartisan deal on infrastructure, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Democratic leadership and Budget Committee Democrats agreed on a $3.5 trillion infrastructure investment plan they aim to include in a budget resolution to be debated later this summer, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said late on Tuesday.
“We have come to an agreement,” Schumer told reporters after more than two hours of closed-door talks by committee Democrats and White House officials. Republicans have not been included in these negotiations.
“You add that to the $600 billion in a bipartisan plan and you get to $4.1 trillion, which is very, very close to what President Biden has asked us for,” Schumer said.
Schumer was referring to work being done on a separate, bipartisan infrastructure bill totaling $1.2 trillion, of which nearly $600 billion would be new spending.
Democratic and Republican negotiators on that measure also reported progress late in the day.
Schumer said the agreement, which still must be endorsed by the 50-member Senate Democratic caucus, would include a significant expansion of the Medicare healthcare program for the elderly – a top goal of Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders.
President Joe Biden will travel to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Schumer said, to meet with Senate Democrats to discuss the emerging legislation.
Senator Mark Warner, a moderate member of the budget panel, said the agreement includes provisions to pay for the $3.5 trillion in infrastructure spending, but he did not elaborate.
The Senate’s 50 Republicans are not expected to back the broader infrastructure effort, likely leaving Democrats to pursue passage on their own under a budget “reconciliation” process that sidesteps a rule requiring at least 60 votes to advance legislation in the 100-member chamber.
Reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell; Additional reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney
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