By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden met for more than an hour with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday about the White House‘s planned quest for a massive increase in spending on projects to restore America’s deteriorating infrastructure. . The big hurdle, as it has been for more than a decade, remains how to pay trillions of dollars in new spending when neither Congress nor legislators have been willing to raise taxes or find new sources of revenue. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with members of the House of Representatives, including Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, and Congressman Sam Graves, the top Republican. of the panel. Biden said at the beginning of the meeting that his goal was for the United States to “once again lead the world in all areas of infrastructure” and said that doing so “makes us vastly more competitive around the world.” The White House has declined to say how much Biden will seek to spend on infrastructure or how it will pay for it. DeFazio said after the meeting that Biden “wants to move as quickly as possible. He wants it to be very big and he feels this is the key to the recovery package.” Graves said the infrastructure plan must be bipartisan and that a funding mechanism is needed. “It can’t be a ‘my way or the highway’ approach like the last Congress,” Graves said, referring to earlier Democratic legislation. “A highway bill cannot become a multi-trillion dollar global bill, or it will lose Republican support.” Biden met with bipartisan groups of senators on infrastructure last month. Democrats closely control both the House and the Senate. Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, failed to reach an agreement with lawmakers on a major bill to repair and replace old and dangerous bridges, airports, water pipes and other projects. As a presidential candidate, Biden pledged to invest $ 2 billion in repairing roads, bridges, and airports; the construction of weather-resistant houses; city cabling for broadband internet; and promote the manufacture of low-consumption automobiles and the installation of electric vehicle charging stations.
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