Bipartisan infrastructure deal nearly complete: Senate negotiators

Bipartisan Senate negotiators said they are very close to a deal on a $1 trillion traditional infrastructure plan.

The pressure and effort to make a deal is palpable in the Capitol, as senators prepare to leave Washington on a two-week recess.

For more than an hour early Wednesday afternoon, senior administration officials met in a Capitol office with a bipartisan group of 10 senators attempting to hammer out a deal on “traditional” infrastructure.

“Inch by inch, we’re making progress,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, during a break to allow senators to vote.

PHOTO: Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., talk as they leave a meeting between a bipartisan group of senators and White House officials as they negotiate an infrastructure plan on June 23, 2021.

“We’re going back. There’s still hope,” Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., told reporters as he exited the office.

At the White House Wednesday afternoon, President Joe Biden was asked how he feels about the bipartisan infrastructure deal and he hinted that it was nearing completion.

“I’ll tell you that when I get the final numbers tonight,” he said.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about crime prevention at the White House in Washington on June 23, 2021.

Later, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that the group had made progress toward an outline of a potential agreement and that the president invited the group to discuss it in person on Thursday.

The group of senators and administration officials returned to the bargaining table Wednesday evening.

Negotiating senators, shuttling back and forth to votes, could be seen arm in arm, joking about making the cocktail hour. The atmosphere is festive and light.

“Every time we come back, it means we’ve made some progress,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who said particular progress had been made on how to pay for the $1 trillion package though he offered no detail.

“We’re really close on the pay-fors,” Tester said, referring to the ways the spending will be paid for.

A trio of senior White House aides — joined by Domestic Policy Council head Susan Rice and acting Office and Management Budget Director Shalanda Young — are set to join Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for a progress report meeting later Wednesday evening.

ABC News’ Molly Nagle contributed to this report.

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