Democrats Still Planning to Go at it Alone if Infrastructure Deal Isn't Reached in 1 Week

Democrats in the House and Senate are still planning to prepare a package alone if a bipartisan infrastructure deal is not reached in one week to 10 days.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said if the bipartisan talks fail, "it's full steam ahead" on a package the committee is preparing for President Joe Biden's proposals of the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan to develop infrastructure for roads and highways as well as resources for U.S. families.

The Democrats' package could be ready for consideration as soon as July. Special reconciliation rules would allow for the possibility of the package being passed without Republicans having a say.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Chairman of the House Budget Committee Yarmuth
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), Chairman of the House Budget Committee, speaks to reporters after a House Democratic Caucus meeting in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday in Washington, DC. Democrats are still planning to forge ahead alone if a bipartisan infrastructure deal is not reached in one week to ten days. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The White House plans to give the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations another week to 10 days before assessing next steps, which could include pursuing a Democrats-only approach to pass President Joe Biden's sweeping jobs and families investment plans.

House Democrats were told about the administration's latest thinking during a closed session Tuesday. Yarmuth said the White House's chief of staff Steve Ricchetti relayed the timeline to lawmakers as talks have been underway with a group of 10 senators devising a nearly $1 trillion proposal.

A person granted anonymity to discuss the closed-door session confirmed the administration's comments.

"Neither precludes the other," Yarmuth said.

The package being prepared by the House Budget Committee would include Biden's ambitious proposals to build not just roads and highways, but also the so-called human infrastructure of child care, veterans care and education facilities.

The updated timeline comes as Biden is overseas but his top legislative priority is teetering in Congress. The president and the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have been engaged in a two-track strategy—reaching for a bipartisan deal with Republicans but also setting the stage for a potential go-it-alone strategy in case talks fail.

A bipartisan group of 10 senators has narrowed on a nearly $1 trillion deal of mainly road, highway and other traditional infrastructure projects, but without the family-related investments in child care centers and other facilities that Republicans reject as costly and unnecessary.

On Tuesday, the Republicans in the bipartisan group are expected to present the proposal to their GOP colleagues at a closed-door Senate lunch.

The effort by the bipartisan group, five Democrats and five Republicans, has come far in meeting Biden's initial ideas, but the senators and the president remain far apart over how to pay for the plan.

Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate, from 21 percent to 28 percent, to pay for infrastructure investments. Under the bipartisan proposal, the projects would be funded by tapping unspent COVID-19 relief funds, increasing the gas tax paid at the pump by linking it to inflation and trying to recoup unpaid income taxes.

House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth
House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., pauses for reporters after meeting with the House Democratic Caucus and Biden administration officials to discuss progress on an infrastructure bill, at the Capitol in Washington, on Tuesday. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo