Senator Cassidy after infrastructure deal: ‘A bridge is coming near you’
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A bipartisan deal has been reached on a massive package to repair the country’s bridges and roads.
On Thursday, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy (R) was at The White House for negotiations with President Joe Biden, and a big group of fellow senators as they hammered out the details.
And Senator Cassidy hinted that a new Mississippi River Bridge, could possibly become a reality.
“To answer your direct question, we have a deal,” said President Joe Biden (D).
President Joe Biden announced a deal has been reached on an infrastructure plan with a group of senators Thursday.
“None of us got all what we wanted. I clearly didn’t get all that I wanted. They gave more than I think maybe they were inclined to give in the first place,” said Mr. Biden.
The $579 billion plan has new money for bridges, airports, train stations and public transit, and to expand broadband internet or rebuild power grids.
But as Senator Cassidy was leaving the White House lawn, he hinted in this video posted on Twitter as to what this all could mean for us.
“Largest infrastructure package in the history of the United States government. A bridge is coming near you. Not right away, not tomorrow, not next year, but we’ve begun the process,” said Senator Cassidy.
There’s no details on the actual wording of the bill just yet.
But Cassidy says if congress does pass the bill, a new Mississippi River Bridge and I-10 Bridge in Lake Charles, could become a reality.
“Yes. And now the money will come down to the state. But it is more money than the federal government has ever sent to the states. The state in turn establishes its own priorities. But those that you just listed, are among the state’s priorities,” said Mr. Cassidy.
According to CBS News, Congress would pay for it in part by boosting the IRS’s budget to go after tax cheats, diverting billions in un-used COVID relief funds, and by selling some of the nation’s strategic oil reserve.
Senator Cassidy says Louisiana residents must be patient. But over time, he says the plan will provide more jobs, and potentially mark off the number one item on our region’s wish list.
“And again, this is the largest package. It will come out over 5 years. But Louisiana can expect to receive enough, to do some of these large infrastructure packages that we’ve been waiting to do,” said Cassidy.
Mr. Biden says he will not sign this bill, unless Congress also passes a bigger Reconciliation package that Democrats support, but Republicans do not.
Here is the full transcript from Senator Cassidy’s full interview with Gray-TV’s Peter Zampa:
Take us in the room - what were the final hurdles?
- Ultimately it was about how you pay for it, GOP didn’t want to raise taxes, Dems didn’t want to repurpose existing funds
- But we were able to get there
How do you get buy in on Capitol Hill?
- There was a lot of enthusiasm on Capitol Hill from people you wouldn’t expect when we brought it to them
- Then the president said he won’t sign the bill until a reconciliation bill is passed - that turned everything upside down
- Thought we had a commitment that the Senate and House should take it up, but now it’s conditional
Were you blindsided by this?
- Yes. Not what we heard in the Oval Office
- Speaking to White House staff and Dems about this - everyone caught off guard
If it does go ahead , given there is no text, can we expect this to be used for things like the I-10 Bridge and the Mississippi River Bridge?
- Yes. The money will come down through the state and they will fund their priorities, but those are priorities
- This is a large package over five years
When can we expect to see text?
- Multiple senators’ staffs are working on this legislation
- No timeline
Do you expect to have to go back to the White House after the president’s comments?
- I am expecting an answer on my text as to what the heck happened
- Will have a lot of communication with the president’s staff if not the president directly
How will his comments impact the GOP vote?
- Rather not answer
- Committed to getting this done, would rather not surmise what will happen after the president’s comments
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