By Salma Still
A group of centrist U.S. senators remained deadlocked Monday on trying to reach agreement on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package to repair the country’s deteriorating roads and bridges and boost funding for broadband internet service.
The Republican and Democratic lawmakers had hoped to finalize their plan but still had not reached agreement for specific funding totals for public transit, water projects, highways and broadband improvements for rural parts of the country.
A month ago, President Joe Biden announced basic agreement with the senators on the plan, but negotiations have lingered on the details of the spending and how to pay for it.
Biden, a Democrat now six months into his presidency, considers the infrastructure package one of his biggest legislative priorities and important as a way to show voters that he can negotiate a bipartisan deal in politically fractious Washington.
Despite the new stalemate Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “It’s to be expected there would be some wrangling at the end. There are some outstanding issues.”
Still, Biden told reporters, “I’m always optimistic” about passage of the legislation.