Joe Biden to meet with Shelley Moore Capito to discuss infrastructure plan
US President Joe Biden, left, wears a protective mask while speaking in a meeting with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, States United, Thursday, May 13, 2021.
TJ Kirkpatrick | Bloomberg | Getty Images
President Joe Biden will meet with Senator Shelley Moore Capito on Wednesday as Democrats and the GOP make a final push to forge a bipartisan infrastructure plan.
The President and Capito – a West Virginia Republican who has led her party’s talks with the Biden administration – will snuggle up in the White House as they attempt to resolve differences over what they say needs to get into a plan and how the government should pay for the investments. .
It is now unclear what the two sides would agree to as a compromise to modernize America’s roads, bridges, airports, broadband and utilities, among a host of other areas a proposal could address.
The meeting comes as Democrats begin to question whether the bipartisan effort can progress or whether the party should push for a sweeping infrastructure plan using special fiscal rules. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., told his caucus Democrats would draft an infrastructure bill “with or without” Republican backing when they return to Washington this month. He aims to pass a law this summer.
On Sunday, Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he wanted to see “clear direction” in the talks by next week. He told CNN that “negotiations cannot go on forever.”
Republicans sent Biden a $ 928 billion infrastructure counter-offer last week. The funding is well short of the $ 1.7 trillion plan the president last proposed to the GOP.
The Republican measure does not include Biden priorities such as caring for elderly and disabled Americans or upgrading homes and schools. The GOP plan also calls for paying for investments by reallocating coronavirus relief funds passed earlier this year.
Republicans have opposed Biden’s attempt to raise the corporate tax rate to at least 25%, from 21%, the level set as part of the 2017 GOP tax cuts. The White House wants also crack down on tax evasion by overseas businesses and individuals in the United States to pay for infrastructure.
As both sides have criticized the other’s proposed methods of raising funds, it is unclear what would gain bipartisan support.
Despite the chasm between the White House and Republican priorities, Capito issued an optimistic note about the talks.
“I think we can come to a real compromise, absolutely, because we’re both still in the game,” she told Fox News on Sunday.
The senator noted that the parties still disagreed on whether an infrastructure plan should go beyond transport, broadband and water systems. Democrats argued that a bill should invest in skills training and care programs for dependent family members, which will help more Americans return to work.
Biden’s infrastructure plan is the first part of his economic stimulus package. The second part deals with education, child care and health care.
Democrats will likely have to pass at least Biden’s second proposal on their own. The strategy comes with its own challenges, as Schumer is expected to get all 50 members of his caucus to support a bill.