United States

Pelosi says U.S. lawmakers must work 'swiftly' on major infrastructure package

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U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks to reporters as House Democrats hold a news conference ahead of the final House passage of the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 9, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) - U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday she has directed key Democratic lawmakers to begin working with Republicans on a major infrastructure package.

Democrat Pelosi, who met on Thursday with the chairs of U.S. House of Representatives committees that will oversee the infrastructure package, said in a statement: "Congress must work swiftly ... to craft a big, bold and transformational infrastructure package."

A Pelosi aide told Reuters infrastructure is "next in terms of top priorities."

One big question mark remains how to pay for a massive boost in spending, which had prevented Congress from approving a big package for more than a decade.

Pelosi said she hoped the measures will address transportation as well as "other critical needs in energy and broadband, education and housing, water systems and other priorities."

As a candidate, President Joe Biden pledged to invest $2 trillion in fixing highways, bridges and airports; building climate-resilient homes; wiring cities for broadband internet; and encouraging the manufacturing of fuel-efficient cars and installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio told Reuters on Wednesday his "tentative timeline" is to have his committee's portion of a major infrastructure bill approved by the panel in May. "It is going to be green and it is going to be big,” he said.

Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington Editing by Matthew Lewis

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