President Joe Biden this week met with a small, bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, to discuss his recently released plan to improve American infrastructure.
In March, Biden introduced the American Jobs Plan, his $2 trillion infrastructure plan aimed at improving a wide range of American infrastructure, including schools, roads, broadband and the environment. Since then, there has been much discussion about how the projects listed in the plan will be paid for and how different aspects of the plan will change as it makes its way through the U.S. House and the Senate.
Republicans have opposed the $2 trillion price tag on the plan and the ways in which Biden has proposed to pay for the plan, which includes increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.
On Monday, Biden met with five senators and five House representatives, including five Democrats, four Republicans and one independent. Each of the senators and representatives had either been a governor or mayor at some point in their careers.
Transportation Secretary and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was also present.
“Governors and mayors know that collaboration is how anything gets done,” Hickenlooper said in a statement released shortly after the conclusion of the meeting.
Hickenlooper was the only one among the group to have been both a governor and a mayor in his career. He was also the only Colorado lawmaker present.
“These members have a unique understanding of the impact of and need for federal investment in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure from their time as state and local executives,” a White House statement said.
During the meeting, the group discussed potential changes to the plan and how to pay for its components, according to the White House website.
“We saw today that there is bipartisan agreement to seize this once in a generation opportunity to improve our public infrastructure,” Hickenlooper said in his statement. “We look forward to tackling this rare challenge to ensure the next generation is ready to compete with the world.”
This is the second meeting Biden has had with a group of bipartisan lawmakers about his infrastructure plan. Last week, he met with eight lawmakers to discuss The American Jobs Plan.
U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, one of the senators present at the Monday meeting, is among a group of Republicans looking to form a different infrastructure plan to counter Biden’s plan. It is unclear how or if the meeting has swayed Republicans’ thoughts about the proposed infrastructure plan.
The American Jobs Plan has yet to be scheduled on the House or Senate floors, but it will most likely take weeks and even months for it to make it through both chambers of Congress.
Grace George is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a student at American University in Washington, D.C.