Joe Biden is considering selections to lead major infrastructure efforts

Biden sees a comprehensive infrastructure package – a bilateral issue that is often promised but rarely fulfilled – as a central legislative priority for the first year in office and critical to its recovery plan – communicated to CNN by familiar sources in transition talks. Biden’s transition team is to examine the leadership of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration as a kind of unit that needs to move quickly and aggressively in tandem to achieve the goal. Biden has also begun talking to members of Congress about a possible proposal, including House Ways and Means president Richard Neal.

A far-reaching infrastructure plan, a commitment that some Democrats say is second only to coronavirus-free, on Biden’s list of legislative priorities, would check a number of promises to the president-elect.

During the campaign, Biden promised that Americans would return to work as quickly as possible, which could be done through a job-focused infrastructure proposal. The plan could be an area of ​​cooperation with Republicans, and infrastructure reform is widely seen as the most likely area in which the two sides can reach an agreement. And the infrastructure bill could back up Biden’s promises to tackle the climate crisis, a move to inspire Democrats.

“These three entities will be of great importance when the economy needs to be rebuilt,” a source involved in the Biden transition said. “Overall, it’s a concept of conversation, making sure these agencies work well together and have a lot of inter-agency relationships to help us move things faster.”

The source added, “I think we can really work as a bipartisan there, and we can really do a lot of things quickly.”

Biden himself acknowledged the potential for infrastructure to be an area where his administration can work with Republicans early in an interview with CNN on Thursday.

“I’ve talked to several (Republican senators) about a number of things,” Biden said. “For example, there is an overwhelming consensus that we need to do things about managing infrastructure.”

It is not yet clear whether the infrastructure proposal will be part of a broader incentive or stand-alone bill, and the Biden transition does not want a plan to be discussed before they take office.

The road to the main infrastructure package, as well as the further Covid-19 exemption, will involve fine strategic calculations. Until the two Georgian runs are settled next month – which could potentially change Senate partisan control – these calculations cannot be made definitively.

On the one hand, the combination of Covid’s relief and infrastructure allows each issue to help propel the other and “better build” on Biden’s theme.

“It gives a clear position,” as one veteran of the Obama administration put it.

But House leaders who saw a decline in their democratic majority last month are worried about creating an oversized package, at least in the Senate.

“Implementing these together will deter too many Republicans because of the large number,” one house leader said.

Jamal Brown, a spokesman for Biden’s transition, said the president-elect “believes that an infrastructure plan is an integral part of starting our economic recovery.”

Brown said such a plan could focus on rebuilding our nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and highways by creating millions of well-paying union jobs while driving the U.S. toward net zero greenhouse gas emissions and fairer clean energy. future.”

Biden is considering several candidates for the best jobs

Biden continues to consider who will lead these three agencies,

Two of Biden’s former presidential opponents – Buttigieg and Yang – are being considered in the trade, several sources told CNN. According to sources, Terry McAuliffe, a former governor of Virginia, applied for the position before being barred from seeking a position in the Biden administration.

And while names continue to swirl over who runs these agencies, Lance Bottoms has emerged as a prominent competitor in leading small business administration, a source said.

The most controversial name is Emanuel as the choice of transport secretary, which has angered both progressive and civil rights groups such as the NAACP. A particular issue for Emanuel is dealing with the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, which was the main reason he did not seek a third term as mayor.
Biden on the designation of the various cabinets:

Biden, who appoints Emanuel as secretary of transport, “would be offensive to African Americans across the country. A man who, as mayor, obscured evidence of police murder until he was re-elected,” Derrick Johnson, NAACP president, told CNN.

CNN reported in November that Emanuel had expressed interest in the work and told the Allies that the nation’s infrastructure challenges were so severe that a person with executive and legislative experience would be of value.

According to sources, the Biden team is also considering Garcetti, led by the Department of Transportation. Transport is also considered another possible landing site for Buttigieg.

And outside groups rely on the Biden team under different names. Progressive groups such as the Sunrise Movement and the Justice Democrats are pushing for Illinois MP Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, while some unions are pushing for John Porcari, a former Maryland Secretary of Transportation who was led by Obama.

Biden has so far favored experts in cabinet elections that have already taken place, which has led to the possibility that some unknown names may appear as leading thinkers in the coming weeks.

Also playing in all this is Biden’s promise to build a diverse cabinet that he believes reflects the diversity of the United States. To date, Biden has named a number of different options for the best jobs, but some civil rights groups have begun to put pressure on Biden to maintain his commitment.

“I will maintain my commitment that the administration, both in the White House and outside the cabinet, resembles the country,” Biden told CNN on Thursday.

Excitement on Capitol Hill

The prospect of Biden making infrastructure a priority has inspired Democrats in Congress, especially those who hoped such a plan would build a bridge to the Trump administration. But Trump and Republicans ’talks on an infrastructure plan broke down in 2019, and the White House’s repeated claims that the next week will be an“ infrastructure week ”became a running joke for both Democrats and Republicans.

In the days following Biden’s election, House Ways and Means president Neal had a conversation with the president-elect about where he would like to pursue politics, he told CNN. The infrastructure became a place where the two men agreed that it would be good to get started.

“They want to do a lot in this,” said Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat.

In the weeks that followed, Neal was in constant contact with Biden’s staff and formulated early parameters about what a bill might look like. The price tag for the infrastructure package is likely to be between $ 1.5 trillion and $ 2 trillion.

After talking to BNN and his team, Neal told CNN he wanted the plan “as big as we could go,” but he asked the Biden administration to start with a bill that had already passed. from the House: The move The Forward Act, which was priced around $ 1.5 trillion and included a green energy component. Neal said the Biden team could be modified on that suggestion.

Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, which broke down in 2019, broke down as the conversation shifted toward paying for the plan. Rebuilding roads, bridges and train stations is a popular idea, but who gets this money and who pays it is still a huge point of attachment. Some industry experts hope that the link between infrastructure reform and job creation as a result of the economic accident caused by the coronavirus could make the big price tag tastier.

Democrats have suggested raising taxes on those earning the most as one way to fund the plan, but even corporate and millionaire tax increases are unlikely to get through the Republican-controlled senate if Democrats don’t win both Senate seats in Georgia coming January.

Another option is to raise the gas tax, but while most Americans are unlikely to notice an extra 10 cents a gallon, given that gas prices fluctuate daily, Republicans find the prospect of raising any taxes difficult, and working Americans have a hard time swallowing Democrats. in the midst of an economic crisis.

There was also a division among members about what an infrastructure bill would look like.

Rural lawmakers are likely to focus on expanding rural broadband, building water projects and rebuilding highways, while Democrats from urban areas would seek to build high-speed transit and, as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer put it, all projects need a climate policy element. which Republicans are likely to rub.