Biden dismisses latest GOP infrastructure counter-offer as falling short of targets
President Joe Biden pushed back on the latest Republican infrastructure counter-offer that would moderately increase spending, arguing that it falls short of its “goals of economic growth, tackling the climate crisis and creating new jobs.” the White House said.
Mr Biden’s reaction indicates that ongoing negotiations between the president and a group of Republican senators may soon come to a halt, as there remain significant differences over the cost of an infrastructure proposal, as well as how it should be funded.
The White House released a reading of a call between Mr. Biden and GOP Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the Republican top negotiator, on Friday afternoon. While the two are expected to speak to each other again on Monday, it’s unclear if there is any further progress to be made. Capito’s office also provided a reading of the discussion on Friday.
Press secretary Jen Psaki said Capito had proposed “an increase of about $ 50 billion in spending on a number of infrastructure programs” when meeting with Mr Biden on Friday. Capito and his group had previously offered a $ 928 billion counter-offer with $ 257 billion in new spending, well below the $ 1.7 trillion sought by the president.
“The President expressed his gratitude for his efforts and goodwill, but also indicated that the current offer did not meet his objectives of economic growth, tackling the climate crisis and creating new jobs. He told Senator Capito that he would continue to engage. a number of senators from both parties in the hope of achieving a more substantial package, ”Psaki said.
Republicans backed down from Mr Biden’s offer and rejected his proposal to pay by raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% because they have no interest in rescinding the reduction legislation. 2017 tax signed by former President Donald. Asset. In a meeting with Capito in person at the White House on Wednesday, the president highlighted parts of his plan that would be funded by corporate taxes, such as setting a minimum 15% corporate tax. most profitable in the country. However, it also seems likely to be opposed by Republican lawmakers, who may see it as an unnecessary tax hike.
Republicans have suggested using unspent funds from previous coronavirus relief measures to pay for infrastructure legislation, but this has been widely rejected by the White House.
Mr Biden suggested reallocating up to $ 75 billion in cash for the coronavirus relief measures that were passed before the US bailout, Psaki said Thursday, but she noted that “the vast majority of these funds are allocated “.
Mr Biden also spoke with House of Transport and Infrastructure Speaker Peter DeFazio, the White House said, after DeFazio on Fridayit would cost $ 547 billion over five years, focused on roads, transit, and passenger and freight rail.
“The President also spoke with President DeFazio to thank him for all his hard work on key elements of the US Jobs Plan and to offer his support for the committee markup that President DeFazio will begin on Wednesday,” said Psaki. “President and President DeFazio have agreed on the benefits of continued engagement with Democratic and Republican senators as House infrastructure work progresses this coming week.”
The law does not provide for any means of paying, since it is not within the competence of the committee. The committees that draft the funding measures for Congress, House Ways and Means and Senate Finance, have yet to come up with ways to fund the infrastructure bills.
The new bill introduced by DeFazio indicates that Democrats might be willing to move forward without the support of Republicans if necessary.
Senate Democrats are already laying the groundwork for pushing the largest infrastructure package through Congress using budget reconciliation, a process that would allow the measure to pass without any Republican votes. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said last week that the Senate would move forward with infrastructure legislation in July whether or not Republicans and Democrats are able to reach a deal.