Biden to meet with union, business leaders to sell bipartisan infrastructure bill
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President Biden will host a meeting with business and labor leaders at the White House on Thursday afternoon to discuss the bipartisan infrastructure framework after a temporary setback for the $1.2 trillion measure when Senate Republicans sunk a key procedural vote.
During the meeting, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are expected to highlight the "strong support and urgent need for the bipartisan infrastructure framework," according to a copy of the president's schedule.
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Attendees are expected to include Business Roundtable CEO Josh Bolten and Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark, along with union leaders such as Lonnie Stephenson of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Terry O’Sullivan of the Laborers’ International Union of North America and Kenneth Rigmaiden of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, according to Bloomberg News.
The meeting comes one day after Senate Republicans sunk a key procedural vote for the still-unfinished plan as lawmakers rush to craft the legislative text. Despite the failed vote, members of both parties – as well as Biden – insisted they are committed to moving forward with the infrastructure agreement as early as next week.
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Asked Wednesday during a CNN town hall in Cincinnati whether he believed Congress would eventually pass the measure, which includes $579 billion in new funding, Biden said: "The answer is absolutely positively yes."
The bipartisan bill – which would invest billions in traditional infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges, transit, airports, public transportation and broadband – has widespread support among businesses and labor organizations.
At the beginning of July, the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the AFL-CIO among others joined forces to launch the "Coalition of Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment," pressing lawmakers to approve the new funding.
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"Now is the time to turn these promises into projects," the group said in a statement. "We urge Congress to turn this framework into legislation that will be signed into law, and our organizations are committed to helping see this cross the finish line."
Separately, Democrats are pushing forward with a reconciliation bill that envisions spending $3.5 trillion over the next decade, with funding to establish free community college and universal preschool, expand Medicare and combat climate change. That measure would be funded by higher taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations.
The Thursday meeting is slated to take place at 4 p.m. ET.
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