President Biden has ended negotiations with Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Republicans over infrastructure legislation, telling Capito Tuesday that the latest GOP offer didn’t “meet the essential needs of our country” to fix roads and bridges, prepare the nation for a future reliant on clean energy and create jobs, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Psaki said that Mr. Biden has talked with several House and Senate lawmakers over the past two days, and he appreciated Capito’s efforts and “good faith conversations,” but he was disappointed that after he had reduced his plan by over $1 trillion, Republicans had “increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion.”
The president will now turn his attention to a bipartisan group of senators preparing their own infrastructure proposal. Psaki said he has spoken with Senators Kyrsten Sinema, Bill Cassidy and Joe Manchin, and he plans to stay in touch with the lawmakers while he’s in Europe.
A bipartisan team led by Republican Senator Mitt Romney, of Utah, had been working on an alternative to the offer by Capito’s group as a backup in case its talks with the White House foundered.
Romney told reporters on Tuesday night that they are “going line by line, and we’re adding some numbers from some things.”
“We’re taking some money out of other things from the, from our last meeting, so we’ve got more input,” Romney said. “We’ve got input from committees and what they voted on, what they’ve approved, and we’re just making adjustments one by one.”
As for a timeline for the talks, Cassidy didn’t elaborate but said “you always want to capitalize on the moment.”
Manchin said Tuesday night that they are “in the realm of everything we’re talking about — moving in the right direction.”
The bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus has also been working on an infrastructure plan with Senators Cassidy, Sinema, Portman and Manchin, among others, and the co-chairs of the group, Congressmen Josh Gottheimer, Democrat of New Jersey, and Brian Fitzpatrick, Republican of Pennsylvania, briefed the White House Monday night on what their work. On Tuesday night, the bipartisan House group released a $1.2 trillion “physical” infrastructure framework, but they’re still working with senators on how to pay for the plan. Their framework includes $761.8 billion in new spending over eight years.
Gottheimer said in a statement, “It’s critically important that we get a robust infrastructure package signed into law, and that we do it with strong bipartisan support,” and he said the group’s framework “tackles everything from electric vehicles to clean water to fixing our crumbling bridges, tunnels, roads, and rail.” Fitzpatrick called on Congress and the White House to “unite” and “move our transportation systems into the 21st century.”
As the administration ended its negotiations with the GOP senators and…
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