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President Biden Looks for Bipartisan Alternatives for his Infrastructure Package

June 18, 2021

Following President Biden’s decision to end on-going discussions with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) aimed at crafting a bipartisan Senate proposal to move forward his infrastructure proposal (the American Jobs Plan), he continues to eye bipartisan alternatives even as House and Senate Democratic leaders prepare their own version of the package that would need to pass via the budget reconciliation process.

Fundamental disagreements remain between the President and Republicans on the scope and size of the package, as well as how to pay for it. While a group of five Republican and five Democratic Senate centrists have offered a $1 trillion alternative, it would need the support of both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and they have not indicated that at this time.

In the evenly split Senate, key to success in passing any package are the votes of moderate Democrats Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), who continue to support a centrist, bipartisan package and have expressed reluctance to back a reconciliation bill, which would require the support of all 50 Democrats. While the President has made concessions on his desire to raise the corporate tax rate to pay for the package, he does not appear to have agreed to reduce or eliminate the major $400 billion investment in home and community-based services (HCBS) for aging adults and persons with disabilities included in his original proposal.  However, due to the size of the investment, the provision could still be scaled back or eliminated.

Lutheran Services in America has been advocating in support of key provisions of the American Jobs Plan, particularly the $400 billion HCBS investment and a provision for $213 billion for affordable housing and homelessness services, and is urging the inclusion of the WORK NOW Act legislation (S. 740) to provide nonprofit health and human services organizations funding to pay wages, salaries, and benefits to retain staff and meet services’ demand.

Join us in this effort through our advocacy alert calling for inclusion of these key initiatives in the package.

By Sarah Dobson, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy