White House and Congress move closer to a massive infrastructure deal; West Virginia reacts

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — President Joe Biden says he has reached a deal with enough Democrats to pass a scaled-down version of his infrastructure plan. He originally wanted $3.5 trillion dollars, but today he cut that in half to 1.75 trillion.

“No one got everything they wanted, including me. But that’s what compromise is. That’s consensus. And that’s what I ran on,” said President Joe Biden.

In separate bills, nearly $1 trillion dollars would go towards rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges and highways. In a companion bill, billions would be spent on so-called social infrastructure including home health care, pre-kindergarten and child care, but in an amount far less than requested.

“Expansion of preschool across the country which is really the biggest expansion of public education in about a hundred years. So even though we’re not getting the whole loaf, we feel like we’re getting half a loaf,” said Gary Zuckett, of the West Virginia Citizen Action Group.

Noting that $6 trillion dollars have already been spent on COVID-19 relief, many Republicans say this latest economic package is still too expensive.

“We have inflation at runaway amounts, and part of the attribution of that is all the money that’s been flooded in from the federal government. This is worrisome to me,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia.

Two big social items that did not make it into the final bill are paid family leave for most Americans and relief from high prescription drug prices.

“Advocates for more social infrastructure now have this rolling billboard. They say they’re not giving up. They are advocating for more funding for these projects. They’ll be all over the state, including at the WVU football game on Saturday,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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