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ICYMI – Shaheen: White House Meeting on Infrastructure Was a “Real Solid Starting Point”

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) recently spoke with the New Hampshire Union Leader about her meeting on infrastructure with President Biden and a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers in Congress who previously served as governors or mayors.

Shaheen commended President Biden on convening a meaningful bipartisan discussion on infrastructure and expressed optimism that common ground exists among lawmakers to meet our nation’s infrastructure needs.

Shaheen told the Union Leader’s Kevin Landrigan, “I went in feeling that way, very optimistic that common ground could be found…I think everyone left the meeting feeling it was a good discussion, a real solid starting point. This was a good-faith effort.”

Senator Shaheen has long fought to bring federal dollars back to New Hampshire to invest in critical transportation and infrastructure projects to fix Granite State roads, rail, bridges and ports. In 2019, Shaheen reintroduced legislation, the Strengthen and Fortify Existing (SAFE) Bridges Act to begin to address the more than 47,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. Shaheen also introduced legislation that would create a national infrastructure initiative to fund innovative projects that promote energy efficiency while meeting significant transportation needs. A senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen has historically secured federal funding for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant program – formerly known as the TIGER Grant program. In Fiscal Year 2021 government funding legislation, Shaheen helped secure funding for the BUILD Grant program, totaling $1 billion. 

Shaheen has also spearheaded efforts to address critical water infrastructure needs in New Hampshire and across the nation. In February, Shaheen reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) to provide rural communities under economic strain during the COVID-19 pandemic with emergency assistance to repair, modernize and renovate failing water infrastructure. The Emergency Assistance for Rural Water Systems Act would provide $1 billion in emergency grants, low- and zero-interest loans and loan forgiveness for struggling small and rural water and wastewater systems across the nation. A leader in Congress on addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination, Shaheen recently joined a bipartisan group of Senators in urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to allow state, tribal and local governments to use funds allocated through the American Rescue Plan to address contamination from PFAS, including in local water supplies. She has also led legislation that would provide billions in substantial federal funding for PFAS remediation in drinking water and groundwater, including private wells. 

Read the full story on Shaheen’s interview with the Union Leader’s Kevin Landrigan here, or below.

Shaheen, other ex-governors, mayors meet with Biden

April 19, 2021

By Kevin Landrigan

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden was open to breaking up his massive infrastructure bill into smaller pieces and finding alternatives to raising corporate income tax rates to pay for it, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said Monday.

Shaheen was part of a 10-person, bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers that met with Biden for 90 minutes in the Oval Office, all of them former governors or mayors before being elected to the U.S. Senate or House brought them to Washington.

The Senate invitees along with Shaheen included ex-Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, former Maine independent Gov. Angus King, ex-North Dakota GOP Gov. John Hoeven and Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who briefly ran against Biden for President in 2020 before jumping into and winning a Senate race back home.

U.S. House members at the meeting included Republican Congressmen Carlos Gimenez who had been mayor of Miami-Dade County, Fla., and Kay Granger who served as mayor of Fort Worth, Texas.

In 2008, Shaheen became the first woman in U.S. history to be elected both governor and senator.

Biden spent much of the time seeking ideas from GOP members of the group, Shaheen said.

“He sounded flexible about what he was willing to consider,” Shaheen said during a telephone interview.

Two smaller bills making headway

A Republican colleague told Biden there’s strong bipartisan support for two smaller infrastructure bills already making progress on Capitol Hill, one a federal highway bill and the other that would pay for water treatment projects.

“The point was we could add to those later, but these are two bills that are ready to move,” Shaheen said.

The group talked about other ways to pay for the bill, such as closing federal tax loopholes and offering more incentives for multinational companies to bring their jobs and federal tax base from overseas, she said.

While national GOP leaders have panned Biden’s bill as too expensive and too big a tax increase, Shaheen said she’s been hopeful the two parties can ultimately come together on a package.

“I went in feeling that way, very optimistic that common ground could be found. The bipartisan group that worked on the COVID relief packages have continued to meet and we have expanded our numbers,” Shaheen said.

“I think everyone left the meeting feeling it was a good discussion, a real solid starting point. This was a good-faith effort."