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Biden concludes infrastructure talks with Republican senators

President Biden concludes talks with Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Republicans on infrastructure legislation, telling Capito on Tuesday that GOP’s latest offer does not “meet our country’s basic needs” to fix roads. and bridges, to prepare the nation for future reliance on clean energy and job creation, according to White House spokesman Jen Psaki.

Psaki said Mr Biden had spoken to several members of Parliament and the Senate over the past two days and appreciated Capito’s efforts and “good faith talks”, but was disappointed that after cutting his plan by more than $ 1

trillion, Republicans “increased their proposed new investment by just $ 150 billion.”

The president will now turn his attention to a bipartisan group of senators preparing its own infrastructure proposal. Psaki said he had spoken to Senators Kirsten Cinema, Bill Cassidy and Joe Manchin and planned to liaise with lawmakers while in Europe.

A two-party team led by Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah was working on an alternative to the Capitol Group’s offer as a backup in case its talks with the White House failed.

Romney told reporters on Tuesday night that “they are going in order and we are adding some numbers from some things.”

“We’re taking money from other things since our last meeting, so we have more information,” Romney said. “We have information from the commissions and what they voted for, what they approved, and we just make adjustments one by one.”

As for the timeline for the talks, Cassidy did not elaborate, but said “you always want to win the moment”.

Manchin said Tuesday night that they are “in the realm of everything we are talking about – moving in the right direction.”

The bipartisan house-to-house solution also works on infrastructure with Senators Cassidy, Cinema, Portman and Manchin, among others, and the group’s co-chairs, Congressmen Josh Gotheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Pennsylvania. home on Monday night for their work. The two-party House group released a $ 1.2 trillion “physical” infrastructure framework on Tuesday night, but is still working with senators on how to pay for the plan. Their framework includes $ 761.8 billion in new spending over eight years.

Gotheimer said in a statement: “It is extremely important to get a stable infrastructure package signed in the law and to do so with strong bilateral support,” and said the group’s framework “deals with everything from electric vehicles to clean water to repairing our crumbling bridges, tunnels, roads and railroads. “Fitzpatrick called on Congress and the White House to” unite “and” move our transportation systems into the 21st century. “

As the administration concludes talks with GP senators and engages with the bipartisan group, Senator John Baraso, a Wyoming Republican, told reporters that there was little evidence of a compromise from Mr. Biden.

“The closest we’ve ever been was the day we were in the Oval Office with the president,” Baraso said on Tuesday. “He never moved towards us in terms of basic infrastructure, he had very broad demands for things that the American people do not see as infrastructure, and he never backed down from wanting to keep raising taxes. ”

A spokesman for the administration told CBS News that Mr Biden had asked Capito and her group if they were prepared to significantly increase their bid, which was $ 928 billion over five years, by 257 billion new costs. Earlier, the president reduced his bid from $ 2.3 trillion to $ 1.7 trillion. Capito offered an additional $ 50 billion in talks with Mr Biden on Friday, which the president rejected.

Funding is an obstacle to ongoing talks between Republicans and the White House. Mr Biden proposed raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, which was rejected outright by Republicans who are reluctant to touch on the 2017 tax cut bill signed by former President Trump. The Republican group proposed using funds from previous coronavirus mitigation measures to pay the bill, but the White House rejected that and also opposed the idea of ​​user charges.

At a meeting with Capito in person at the White House last Wednesday, the president highlighted parts of his plan that will be financed by corporate taxes, such as a 15% minimum tax on the country’s most profitable companies. However, while this approach may leave tax cuts in 2017 intact, it may not satisfy Republican lawmakers, who may see it as an unnecessary tax increase.

In a statement Tuesday, Capito said she was “disappointed with his decision” to end the talks.

“During our negotiations, we committed ourselves with respect, fully and very frankly – we delivered several serious counter-offers, each of which was the largest investment in infrastructure provided by the Republicans,” Capito said. “Despite the progress we have made in our negotiations, the president has continued to respond with offers that include tax increases such as his salary, instead of several practical options that would not be detrimental to individuals, families and small businesses.”

Capitot added that Biden’s decision “does not mean that bilateralism is not feasible,” noting that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee had approved several bipartisan infrastructure legislation soon.

It is unclear whether Mr Biden will be able to reach a deal with the bipartisan group, but their offer includes payment, Romney said.

The smaller group consists of about six senators, including Republican Senators Rob Portman, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, as well as Romney and Democratic Senators Cinema and Manchin. On Tuesday, Romney told reporters that his group had soon submitted its proposal to the G20, a group of 20 moderate senators from both parties.

On Tuesday, Romney told reporters that his group had a “top-tier number” and that “it was divided into categories and payments.”

If Biden fails to reach a deal with the bipartisan group, Democrats could try to submit their infrastructure proposal through budget coordination, a process that allows legislation to be passed by a simple majority. However, Manchin said he did not want to use reconciliation to pass a bill on infrastructure, as long as bilateral talks are viable.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday proposed that some provisions included in Mr Biden’s plan be passed through conciliation, while other parts would be traditionally approved.

“It is possible that part of the bill that will be adopted will be bipartisan and part of it will be achieved through reconciliation, but we will not sacrifice the scale and courage in this bill. We will just continue on two paths and at some point they will join, “Sumer told a news conference.

In a statement, Psaki said Mr Biden also spoke with Sumer, “to discuss the need to start work on the budget process so that legislation to advance the president’s economic priorities and tax reform plans can be move to the Senate floor in July “

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