"I'm going to reserve judgment until we've had our briefing at our caucus lunch," Carper said. He had earlier fought with negotiators over water provisions in the bill, but said Wednesday he and his staff worked into the night Tuesday with the administration and negotiators to provide input to the deal.
In an apparent response to complaints from Carper and other top members of committees with jurisdiction over infrastructure issues that they were shut out of the bipartisan group’s negotiating process, the Republican negotiators talked up the contributions of committee chairs and ranking members to their final product.
They said the deal includes $65 billion for broadband deployment and affordability programs.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who focused on that portion of the deal said the pandemic showed the importance of digital infrastructure.
“Our goal is to ensure that there is far greater access to high-speed internet services,” Collins said.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., pointed to $47 billion to improve “resiliency” in part to guard against coastal damage from flooding that his state has seen.
Cassidy may have had former President Donald Trump's admonitions to Republicans in mind when he cited the importance of the resiliency money to help people impacted by flooding. Trump was urging the GOP not to make a deal.
“I am amazed that there's some who oppose this just because they think that if you ever get anything done somehow it's a sign of weakness,” Cassidy said. “I have no clue what they mean.”
Raging against the deal in recent days, Trump warned GOP lawmakers: "Don’t let the Radical Left play you for weak fools and losers!”©2021 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Visit cqrollcall.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.