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Biden rejects GOP infrastructure offer, citing overarching goals


His response on Friday cast further doubts on the prospects of the two sides to reach a settlement on one of the administration’s main legislative priorities as the deadline passed and time ran out to make progress toward the deal.

The White House released the statement after Biden spoke on the phone with West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, chief GOP negotiator. Both sides said the two would talk again on Monday, but Biden’s team clarified that the president would choose to negotiate with other senators.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “The president expressed his gratitude for his effort and goodwill, but also indicated that the current proposals meet his objectives of growing the economy, tackling the climate crisis and creating new jobs.” does not do.”

A statement from Capito provided no details about their discussions or the new proposal.

Making the pitch to Republicans, Capito suggested a boost of nearly $50 billion over the previous Republican proposal of $928 billion, the White House said, still leaving the GOP less than the $1.7 trillion Joe Biden demanded. Used to be.

In another sign that a deal with Capito was rapidly looming, the White House said Biden told Capito that he would “continue to engage as many senators on both sides as possible in hopes of obtaining a more substantial package.”

For weeks, the president has been engaged in talks with GOP senators, trying to reach a settlement on Biden’s top legislative priority, a large infrastructure investment package. While both sides have narrowed the price gap between their initial $2.3 trillion offer and the GOP’s $568 billion opening bid, they are far from over the scope of the deal and how to pay for it.

Biden wants to raise corporate taxes to generate revenue for infrastructure investments, which is a nonstarter for Republicans. GOP senators proposed tapping unused COVID-19 relief aid to pay for roads, bridges and other projects, an idea rejected by Democrats.

Earlier in the day, after a modest May jobs report was released, Biden made the case for his strong investment package to prop up the economy from the COVID-19 crisis and recession and push it into a new era.

“Now is the time to build on the progress we’ve made,” Biden told reporters in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. “We need to make those investments today to be successful tomorrow.”

After returning to the White House, Biden spoke to Capito by telephone. The White House was eyeing a deadline early next week as Congress returns from its Memorial Day break to see the progress of a deal. In the meantime, Democrats are laying the groundwork for a go-it-alone approach. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has indicated that Biden would like to act without Republican support if a consensus is not reached.

Saki on Friday downplayed any tough deadlines and said the administration continues to talk to lawmakers from both sides.

“The runway is left,” Saki told reporters at the White House. “We’re going to keep a variety of avenues open.”

Republicans are showing no interest in Biden’s latest proposal for a 15% corporate minimum tax rate, which would ensure that all companies pay some in taxes, instead allowing so many write-offs or deductions that they Contribute zero to the Treasury.

A Republican familiar with the conversation and speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the private assessment said GOP senators see that idea as an unnecessary tax increase. He had already rejected his initial proposal to increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.

Instead, Republicans are pushing to use unused COVID-19 relief funds to pay for infrastructure investments. Biden’s team has rejected that view.

Still, neither Biden nor GOP senators appear ready to kick off talks, even as Democrats use budget rules to pass a major package on their own, without Republican votes. prepare to do.

On Friday, House Democrats released a plan to spend $547 billion over the next five years on road, mass transit and rail projects, a blueprint of their priorities and a potential building block for Biden’s comprehensive package.

Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, the Democratic chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, continues to dismantle existing programs and adds key pieces to the larger measure that Biden is negotiating with Republicans.

His bill would authorize up to $343 billion for roads, bridges and safety improvements. Another $109 billion will go to public transportation programs and $95 billion will go to the freight and passenger rail system, which includes three times the funding for Amtrak.

DeFazio’s bill is not expected to attract much GOP support, as Republicans recently unveiled legislation of their own that would authorize nearly $400 billion over five years for road, bridge and transit programs.

Republicans on the House panel criticized the Democratic law in a statement. “Instead of working with Republicans to find common ground on a bill that could garner strong bipartisan support—our Senate counterparts did so successfully last month—the bill is left to appease the most progressive members in the majority party. And moves on.”

Biden also called on Friday to thank DeFazio for his work “on key elements of the American jobs plan,” Psaki said, adding that he agreed on the benefits of continuing to Democratic and Republican senators.

Business groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable have called on lawmakers to continue talks and work towards a bipartisan agreement.

But some Democrats have questioned the merits of that approach and are already unhappy with some of the agreements Biden has offered. They support using a process that would allow Democrats with a simple majority to boost infrastructure, which they did through a COVID-19 relief measure that paid $1,400 to most Americans .

“It’s not necessary to get Republicans on board. It’s to get the American people back on their feet,” Representative Jamal Bowman, D.N.Y., said.

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Associated Press writer Josh Bok contributed to this report.

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