Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
The White House on Thursday welcomed the Senate Republicans’ infrastructure proposal, describing it as “encouraging.”
“We are grateful for the work of Senator Capito and her colleagues on this proposal. It is encouraging to see her group come forward with a substantially increased the funding level—nearing $1 trillion. We appreciate the hard work that went in to making this proposal and continuing these negotiations,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki wrote in a statement.
Psaki said Senator Capito told President Biden that “her team would provide us with more details later today, and we look forward to getting that information.”
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She added: “At first review, we note several constructive additions to the group’s previous proposals, including on roads, bridges and rail. At the same time, we remain concerned that their plan still provides no substantial new funds for critical job-creating needs, such as fixing our veterans’ hospitals, building modern rail systems, repairing our transit systems, removing dangerous lead pipes, and powering America’s leadership in a job-creating clean energy economy, among other things. Lastly, we are concerned that the proposal on how to pay for the plan remains unclear: we are worried that major cuts in COVID relief funds could imperil pending aid to small businesses, restaurants and rural hospitals using this money to get back on their feet after the crush of the pandemic.
“As for the path forward, the President called Senator Capito thank her for the proposal, and to tell her that he would follow-up after getting additional detail. We are also continuing to explore other proposals that we hope will emerge. Though there are no votes in Congress next week, we will work actively with members of the House and Senate next week, so that there is a clear direction on how to advance much needed jobs legislation when Congress resumes legislative business during the week of June 7.”