- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Republican mayor of Oklahoma City told reporters Wednesday that he sees bipartisan support among state and local officials for President Biden’s $3.5 trillion infrastructure package.

Mayor David Holt, who emerged from a meeting with Mr. Biden and Vice President Harris to discuss infrastructure spending, said he believesthe two parties can reach a “broad consensus” on the proposal.  

“I think we are right on the cusp here,” Mr. Holt said. “There is an opportunity here to do it in a bipartisan way and I was very pleased coming from my background … to see a real commitment from the president to get this bipartisan infrastructure framework passed.”

Mr. Holt was among several local officials who attended the meeting with the president. Also in attendance were Democratic Govs. Phil Murphy of New Jersey and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois and Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, a Republican. A handful of big-city mayors also attended the meeting, including Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio, Kate Gallego of Phoenix and Michael Hancock of Denver, all Democrats.

Still, the officials emphasized that they see broad support for Mr. Biden’s infrastructure plan among Republicans in their regions.

They hailed the benefits of the package’s framework, including funding for projects like broadband access in rural communities, improved roads and bridges.

“I think the people in communities know they need this,” Ms. Whaley said. “It’s only not bipartisan in Washington D.C., which we see as an opportunity to actually bring the rest of America to Washington, D.C. and get something passed everybody really agrees on.”

“I think America is ready for this infrastructure plan,” she continued. “As mayors, we’ve been talking for about a decade now to get this done. We see a bipartisan path, the president sees a bipartisan path. We need to get this done, but we need to get it done now.”

Mr. Biden hosted the meeting to build a coalition of support among state and local leaders, similar to the path he pursued with the massive COVID relief plan at the beginning of his administration.

Despite bipartisan support in their states, the administration is struggling to attract Republican backing on Capitol Hill.

Democrats need 10 Republican votes in the evenly divided Senate without losing any support from within their party to pass the infrastructure proposal. It is unclear if the $3.5 trillion package reached Tuesday night will appeal to moderates in the Democratic party. 

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