Biden rejects new GOP infrastructure offer

Biden rejects new GOP infrastructure offer

U.S. President Joe Biden gestures to Senator Shelley Capito (R-WV) during an infrastructure meeting with Republican Senators at the White House in Washington on May 13, 2021.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Joe Biden on Friday rejected a new Republican infrastructure counter-offer, but will continue talks with Republicans next week as the White House considers whether it should give up hope of a bipartisan deal.

In a conversation with the President on Friday, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, RW.V., proposed adding about $ 50 billion in spending to the GOP framework, White House Press Secretary Jen said. Psaki in a statement. Republicans last presented a $ 928 billion plan. Biden recently offered a $ 1.7 trillion package.

Biden signaled that “the current supply has failed to meet its targets of economic growth, tackling the climate crisis and creating new jobs,” she added. Although he rejected the latest proposal, Biden will meet with Capito again on Monday and plans to speak with senators from both sides about a “more substantial package,” according to Psaki.

As talks continue, Democrats have also moved forward with a surface transportation bill in the House. The legislation could serve as a way to approve key pieces of Biden’s $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure package through a series of mandatory spending bills.

House transport committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., Unveiled the bill on Friday. It would invest $ 547 billion over five years in roads and bridges, as well as rail and other public transportation.

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DeFazio has scheduled a committee to mark the bill on June 9, which may be the date closest to a true deadline for Biden and Senate Republicans to reach an infrastructure deal. Biden separately spoke to DeFazio to “offer support” to the hearing on the legislation.

The parties have been trying to forge a compromise for weeks, but seem far from agreement on how much money to spend on infrastructure and how to pay for the investments. Monday marks the date Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the White House wanted to see “clear direction” in the talks.

Biden may have to decide whether he wants to pursue a vast infrastructure package with only Democratic votes. Members of his own party could complicate the process: Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia on Thursday expressed doubts about using special fiscal rules to pass a bill while he remains hopeful of a bipartite agreement. Biden would need every Democratic Senate vote if a plan lacks GOP support.

Biden told Capito he wants a bill to include at least $ 1 trillion in new money – or increase spending under existing policy. The Republican plan would only allocate about $ 250 billion in new funds.

The president also offered alternatives to his proposal to foot a bill by raising the corporate tax rate to at least 25%, a move Republicans oppose. Biden has raised the possibility of implementing a minimum corporate tax of 15% because some profitable companies manage to pay little or no tax. (The White House pointed out that Biden still supports the corporate rate hike.)

However, it is not clear whether Republicans will accept Biden’s concession.

The talks highlighted fundamental differences between what the parties see as infrastructure and what they see as the role of the federal government in a changing economy. The White House wants a plan to include not only improvements to transportation, broadband and water systems, but also investments in clean energy, care for dependent family members, housing and services. schools.

The GOP wants a closer focus on areas such as roads, bridges, airports, broadband and water systems.

Whether Biden chooses to draft a bipartisan deal or pass a bill with only Democrat support, he could face the backlash from the Democrats. Some progressive lawmakers, including Rep. Jamaal Bowman, DN.Y., have been wary of the president’s efforts to reduce his initial $ 2.3 trillion proposal in order to win Republican votes.

“If what we have read is true, it would be very difficult for me to vote yes on this bill,” he said in a statement on Thursday. “$ 2,000 billion was already the compromise. President Biden cannot expect us to vote for a Republican Party-driven infrastructure deal.”

Still, Psaki reported on Friday that the administration had not closed the door to a bipartisan deal. She told reporters “there is a lead left” on the talks.

However, she suggested the White House would put a cap on the length of negotiations with the Republicans.

“There are some realities of delay” on the talks, she said, “including Congressman DeFazio leading the markup for key elements of the US jobs plan next week.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., told his caucus he wanted to pass an infrastructure bill by July.

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