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Senate Infrastructure Package

Senate Budget Chairman Sanders said he is unlikely to support a bipartisan infrastructure plan backed by 21 senators because of the way it would be funded. He stated that the compromise proposal to provide $579 billion in new spending is "mostly good," it amounts to only a quarter of what Biden initially sought, and it would rely on financing that includes a fee on electric vehicles, indexing the federal gasoline tax to inflation, and an "infrastructure bank," or revolving loan fund, that Sanders said amounts to "the privatization of infrastructure.  If it is regressive taxation, you know, raising the gas tax or a fee on electric vehicles or the privatization of infrastructure, so no, I would not support it, but we do not have all of details right now." Also, Sen. Sanders defended the push by Democrats to assemble a roughly $6 trillion package through budget reconciliation that would avoid a Republican filibuster, but he acknowledged that more work would be needed to rally all Democrats around the plan. With no Democratic votes to spare in the evenly divided Senate, Sens. Manchin (WV) and Sinema (AZ) have expressed reluctance to back a reconciliation bill, while others have expressed unease about the price tag. Sen. Portman (R-OH) said that support for the effort is growing beyond the 21 senators from both parties who have publicly endorsed it and he acknowledged the group's plan to index the gas tax to inflation, a move that would result in a tax increase, has met resistance from the Biden Administration, which opposes any tax increases on those making less than $400,000 a year.  Sen. Portman said, “the Administration will need to come forward with some other ideas without raising taxes."  He views the gas tax as a "user fee.”