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Biden rejects new Republican infrastructure offer

EconomyJun 05, 2021 04:06PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden gestures toward Senator Shelley Capito (R-WV) during an infrastructure meeting with Republican Senators at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 13, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden and Republicans entered the weekend sharply at odds over how to craft an infrastructure deal that could satisfy their camps, imperiling the odds of a bipartisan deal.

Democrat Biden shot down a new proposal from the main Republican negotiator on infrastructure, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, that increased spending by about $50 billion over their last offer, the White House said.

Biden rejected the offer, saying it "did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs."

Republicans had previously offered roughly $257 billion in new spending, short of the $2.25 trillion Biden initially offered and suggested he might bring down to as low as $1 trillion.

And while the two sides agreed to speak again on Monday, the White House also strongly signaled that they may seek a path forward with other Republican lawmakers or even with only Democrats.

"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," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Up until now, Capito has been Biden's primary negotiating partner. Monday's conversation will be their third in a week.

Biden is eager to show that he made a good-faith effort at a bipartisan deal, sources said, but he risks creating division among Democrats, some who believe he is giving up too much to Republicans. Democrats hold narrow majorities in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

A Capito spokesperson offered scant detail of what was discussed on the call, saying that they "continued negotiating" and discussed both sides' views.

UNCERTAIN PATH

Friday's call showed serious hurdles remain to bipartisan negotiations even just two days after Biden floated his biggest concession yet.

Biden offered to drop his plan to raise corporate tax rates as high as 28% during an Oval Office meeting with Capito, sources said, replacing it with a minimum 15% tax rate aimed at ensuring all companies pay taxes.

Republican leaders see corporate tax hikes to finance the construction of roads, bridges, water pipes and other projects as a non-starter.

Biden could now choose to strike a deal including most of his wish list that might, at best, only secure the backing of his fellow Democrats.

Doing so would require seeking a party-line "reconciliation" vote. Reconciliation circumvents Senate rules that effectively require 60 votes to pass most legislation.

But Biden's one-on-one sessions between Biden and Capito are increasingly testing liberal Democrats' patience by watering down their goals and delaying legislative action in the period before Congress goes into recess for summer vacation.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a liberal courted by the White House, said Republicans have passed massive tax cuts without bipartisan support and that he saw no reason Democrats couldn't move forward in similar fashion.

"Please don't tell me we can't use the same tools to help working people," Sanders wrote on Twitter.

A group of young activists from the Sunrise Movement, which wants to halt climate change and create jobs, gathered in front of the White House on Friday to protest what they called Biden's broken promises and pandering to Republicans.

"We are demanding that he stops working with the GOP, that he meets with us instead and that he passes the biggest, most robust infrastructure package that he can," said 24-year-old Ellen Sciales, one of the members of the Sunrise Movement that was consulted by Biden's presidential campaign.

House lawmakers have already started work on a bill that may end up as a one-party effort. Biden called the Democratic leader of a congressional committee working on that bill, Peter DeFazio, to "to offer his support" for that initial work, Psaki said.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had said the White House sees Monday - when Congress returns from a one-week break - as a critical date to see progress in talks.

But White House press secretary Jen Psaki stopped short on Friday of declaring any deadline.

"We're going to keep a range of pathways open," she told reporters.

Biden rejects new Republican infrastructure offer
 

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Comments (13)
Mark Stallone
Mark Stallone Jun 05, 2021 9:45PM ET
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Idiocracy, here we come.. full speed ahead.
St Af
St Af Jun 05, 2021 6:32PM ET
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Biden, a 1/2 term President.?. 2022 Elections will tell us.
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 Jun 05, 2021 6:28PM ET
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Trumpets don’t understand economics. Why are so many of then on this forum politicizing inflation without knowing what it is and what you can really do to keep it from happening. Like neglecting a pandemic. Go to Reddit please. This site is for investors
Vernon Orim
Vernon Orim Jun 05, 2021 6:28PM ET
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1. It (inflation) is already happening so clearly someone’s doing a bad job keeping it from happening.2. You clearly have ZERO understanding of economics because central banks have spent years trying to create inflation, not the opposite.3. The final ingredient in the inflation cocktail was ‘helicopter money’...we are now handing out free money, doesn’t take a genius to understand supply and demand...i hope you do.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Jun 05, 2021 6:28PM ET
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Vernon Orim He also fails to understand the result this will have on increasing the wealth gap. But they’ll of course try to cure that with ever increasing handouts, whic only adds to the problem.
Angus Malarkey
Angus Malarkey Jun 05, 2021 6:28PM ET
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Pathetic Troll. SMH
Matt Goodwin
Matt Goodwin Jun 05, 2021 6:25PM ET
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Im actually surprised he was even aware of an infrastructure bill.
Adaeze Light
Adaeze Light Jun 05, 2021 5:57PM ET
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and still wearing the masks
Me comment
Me comment Jun 05, 2021 5:18PM ET
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I told you middle finger an pass the bill he wants without them, just like they did with the tax cuts.
Angus Malarkey
Angus Malarkey Jun 05, 2021 4:31PM ET
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...and still wearing the masks.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jun 05, 2021 4:30PM ET
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Gas, foods increase insanely the last couple months. When will he realize his c/r/a/y spending makes all of us pay more n suffer?
Me comment
Me comment Jun 05, 2021 4:30PM ET
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The rising prices are the after effect of trumps poor handling of the pandemic.
Hung Pham
Hung Pham Jun 05, 2021 4:30PM ET
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Me comment haha Trump lives in yoir head
Mark Stallone
Mark Stallone Jun 05, 2021 4:30PM ET
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That literally makes no sense, based on the facts (Ever heard of a little thing called "Warp Speed"?
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jun 05, 2021 4:29PM ET
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Biden will make goos great again. Darn a bergur is already above 8usd, over 25% increase. He’ll wont stop until it is 100usd.
Pius Pip
Pius Pip Jun 05, 2021 4:25PM ET
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MMT believers and their delusions...they should keep praying inflation is “transitory” whilst they’re living in their version of the year 2100 & dragging an already fragile economy and society in the MUD. Unemployment persistent, inflation up, crime up and this is just the start...p.s i hope/think inflation is transitory (whatever transitory means) too but this is a slippery slope the longer it remains WET, 70s-80s all over again.
Milan Thanki
Milan Thanki Jun 05, 2021 4:22PM ET
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down 10%down next week
Evgeny Syrtsov
Evgeny Syrtsov Jun 05, 2021 1:03PM ET
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because he didn't get his 10%
Mase Gumbo
Mase Gumbo Jun 05, 2021 1:03PM ET
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i bet you got yours though
skriller bee
skriller bee Jun 05, 2021 4:34AM ET
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republicans should just outright say what they are thinking and say, we dont realy want to spend any new money(cuz we want dems to achieve skwat during their admin) and not create this poison budgets/bills that are so far from what the democrats have initialy suggested.
 
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