Biden pushes for infrastructure spending, as Congress seen acting in fall

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President Joe Biden on Tuesday took his pitch for a bipartisan deal on infrastructure spending to Wisconsin, with the trip coming after he struggled last week with the rollout of the deal.

“A bipartisan group of senators got together, and they forged an agreement to move forward on the key priorities of my American Jobs Plan,” Biden said, as he delivered a speech at a municipal transit facility in La Crosse, Wis.

“This is a generational investment — a generational investment — to modernize our infrastructure, creating millions of good-paying jobs.”

Legislation aimed at infrastructure
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isn’t expected to make it to the president’s desk for weeks or months, as the House and Senate still have significant work to do.

“The House will vote on a surface transportation bill this week as Senate negotiators are working to turn the bipartisan infrastructure framework into legislative text. But a House bill and a Senate bill are not the same, and the Democratic push for reconciliation leaves the timeline for passing any bill through both chambers until the fall,” said Ben Koltun, director of research at Beacon Policy Advisors, in a note on Tuesday.

Other analysts also have predicted that any infrastructure legislation looks set to come this fall.

Momentum has been growing for a two-step approach to infrastructure spending, in which the $1 trillion bipartisan plan first would draw the 60 Senate votes that are needed to bypass the filibuster, then Democrats would go it alone to pass a bigger package by a simple majority vote through a process known as budget reconciliation. Biden last week said he expected that Congress will have voted on both the infrastructure bill and a budget resolution by Sept. 30.

When asked about timing on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, has “conveyed that he wants to have both packages on the floor in July, and that’s probably the next step.”

One of the senators backing the bipartisan plan, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, also drew questions on timing on Tuesday, as he was asked on MSNBC about what inning it was for Washington’s infrastructure push.

“Is this the seventh inning stretch? I’m not sure,” Manchin said. “Anything could happen in the last two innings. So I would say that we’re in a situation where we know we have a template, we know we have a bipartisan agreement, we know the amounts and how it’s going to be spent. And we know how we’re going to pay for it with no debt, no additional debt.”

Biden struggled with the bipartisan plan’s rollout last week as he first insisted that it get coupled with the larger Democratic measure in order to earn his signature, but then walked back that threat.

U.S. stocks
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DJIA,
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were little changed on Tuesday afternoon, as investors digested a strong reading on consumer confidence.

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