President Biden on Tuesday injected himself into the Senate’s wavering negotiations on a bipartisan infrastructure and expressed optimism about keeping the deal alive after meeting with one of the chief Democratic negotiators, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
The president and Ms. Sinama emerged from the meeting “optimistic” about sealing the deal despite a recent series of setbacks, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
“Both understand — having lived through many iterations of legislating and negotiating before — that it is always at the tail end that you have some of the trickiest discussions,” Ms. Psaki said at a White House press briefing. “But again, they remain quite positive about the forward momentum and the path we see for the infrastructure package at this point in time.”
The meeting signals a desire by Mr. Biden to become more personally involved in finalizing the details of the roughly $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal as negotiations stall on Capitol Hill.
Ms. Sinema is among the group of 10 senators from both parties trying to wrap up the debate, despite disagreements and concerns on how to pay for the bill.
In an interview with Politico, Ms. Sinema said her sit-down with Mr. Biden was ”productive,” adding that talks are “moving forward.
A group of bipartisan lawmakers is working to resolve those differences that have threatened to derail a deal they reached with the president last month.
Ms. Psaki said she doesn’t have any additional meetings between the president and lawmakers to preview, but she said Mr. Biden is willing to just pick up the phone if he thinks it will be constructive.
She cited comments from Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah Republican, that also expressed optimism that a deal is close as a sign of a possible breakthrough.
“We are enthusiastic about getting the bipartisan infrastructure plan across the finish line, confident we will be there soon,” said Ms. Psaki.