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Twenty-one senators, including eleven Republicans, detailed a bipartisan proposal that cost approximately $ 973 billion over five years or $ 1.2 trillion over eight years. The plan would include $ 579 billion in new spending, repurposing unspent Covid supplies, adding an electric vehicle surcharge, and expanding the use of state and local funds for coronavirus relief.
Sanders opposed measures such as the additional gasoline tax and the additional charge for electric vehicles, but added that the proposal was “mostly good”.
“What I see in the bipartisan bill about spending is mostly good,” said Sanders. “One of the concerns I have about the bipartisan bill is how they will pay for their proposals, and they are not clear yet. I don’t know if they still know, but some of the speculation is surfacing.” a gas tax that I am not in favor of, a charge for electric vehicles, the privatization of the infrastructure, these are proposals that I would not support. “
Sanders’ setback comes as Senate Democrats continue to spend up to $ 6 trillion on their own infrastructure package through the reconciliation process if the chamber’s bipartisan talks fail – or even if the bipartisan package is approved. The Vermont Senator added that key issues such as elderly care, climate change and wealth disparities need to be addressed.
“It is time we paid attention to the needs of working people,” said Sanders. “And if we do that, if we look at the climate, if we look at infrastructure, if we look at home health care, if we look at childcare, we can create millions of well-paying jobs, that is it what the American people “want.” We have to do that. “
Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a leader of the group that made the bipartisan proposal, responded to Sanders’ comments, saying the $ 6 trillion proposal was a “grave sack of progressive priorities.”
“It’s not about the infrastructure. It’s kind of a $ 6 trillion grave sack with progressive priorities, ”Portman said at Meet the Press. “We are about the core infrastructure and it is paid for.”