White House officials said on Friday that President Biden panned the latest offer from Senate Republicans for an infrastructure package that would address roads, bridges and other public works projects, as negotiators struggle to make significant headway.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the Republican leading talks with the White House, presented a $50 billion increase to the party’s latest overall $928 billion infrastructure proposal during a private conversation with Mr. Biden on Friday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said in a statement after the phone call. That increase was across multiple infrastructure programs, Ms. Psaki said.
But Mr. Biden said it did not do enough to satisfy his ambitions for a sweeping investment in the nation’s public works system that also addresses climate change and boosts the American economy.
“The president expressed his gratitude for her effort and good will, but also indicated that the current offer did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs,” Ms. Psaki said. “He indicated to Senator Capito that he would continue to engage a number of senators in both parties in the hopes of achieving a more substantial package.”
The pair are still scheduled to speak again on Monday. A spokeswoman for Ms. Capito said the $50 billion increase was in new funding, bringing the Republican offer to just over $300 billion in new money on top of expected maintenance of existing federal programs.
Both sides have struggled to bridge differences over how to structure and finance sweeping public works projects. Mr. Biden has rejected Republican counterproposals that included far less spending and no tax increases on corporations and the wealthy.
Republicans have also pushed to pay for parts of the plan using funding for the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill, something the White House has rejected. On Wednesday, in a meeting in the Oval Office with Ms. Capito, Mr. Biden pushed for about $1 trillion in new spending and suggested establishing a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations as opposed to increasing top-end rates.
Republicans on Capitol Hill remain wary about Mr. Biden’s ambitions for new spending and his plans to pay for that spending with what they view as tax increases, and have argued that their proposal is the largest investment they have put forward.
At her press briefing on Friday, Ms. Psaki said that “there’s runway left” for negotiations with Republicans, and reiterated that the White House was open to speaking to a variety of lawmakers in order to move forward with what could be one of the most substantial infrastructure investments in recent memory.
But, she noted, “there are some realities of timelines.”
Mr. Biden also spoke on Friday with Representative Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. On Friday, Mr. DeFazio unveiled…
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