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'Real compromise' on U.S. infrastructure bill possible - Republican senator

EconomyMay 30, 2021 03:45PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) listens during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 3, 2021. REUTERS/Brandon Bell/Pool

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Negotiations with U.S. President Joe Biden over a potentially massive infrastructure investment package are inching forward even though disagreements remain over the size and scope of such legislation, Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito said on Sunday.

"I think we can get to real compromise, absolutely, because we're both still in the game," Capito said in an interview with "Fox News Sunday."

Capito leads a group of six Senate Republicans who have been in regular contact with Biden and White House aides over a bill the administration wants to move through Congress promptly.

The Republican senators have proposed $928 billion to improve roads, bridges and other traditional infrastructure projects. Much of the funding would come from money already enacted into law for other purposes that they argue is unused.

The Biden administration's latest offer in negotiations is for $1.7 trillion and would include federal spending on projects that go beyond traditional infrastructure, such as home care for the elderly.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, speaking on ABC's "This Week," said of the latest Republican counteroffer: "There's movement in the right direction, but a lot of concern."

Buttigieg added, "We need to make investments over and above what would have happened anyway." He also highlighted the need for using the infrastructure bill to address climate change and signaled opposition to shifting COVID-19 relief money to infrastructure accounts.

Capito said that following a White House meeting, which Republicans viewed as productive, Biden aides stepped away from some of the ideas Republicans pushed.

"We have had some back and forth with the staff that sort of pulled back a little bit but I think we're smoothing out those edges," said the West Virginia senator whose state stands to benefit significantly from new infrastructure investments.

Nonetheless, Republicans continued to balk at raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations to help finance the projects.

"I'm not going to vote to overturn those," Capito said when asked about rolling back some of the Republican tax cuts enacted during the Trump administration.

She also held the line against including new funding for projects that go beyond physical infrastructure, saying those could be considered in other measures percolating in Congress.

The talks were expected to continue this week even though Congress is on a break, with the Senate returning on June 7.

When lawmakers return to Washington, Biden will be under pressure from many of his fellow Democrats in Congress to sidestep Republicans and cut off negotiations if they do not show signs of significant progress.

Buttigieg told CNN there needs to be a clear direction on the infrastructure bill. “The president keeps saying, 'inaction is not an option' and time is not unlimited here."

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, also interviewed on CNN, said, "I think waiting any longer for Republicans to do the right thing is a misstep.” She added, "I would go forward."

Congress could use a special "reconciliation" process that requires only a simple majority of the 100-member Senate to advance legislation, instead of the 60-vote threshold usually required. The Senate is currently evenly split, 50-50, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris having the power to break deadlocks.

It is not clear, however, whether all Democrats would go along with such a process.

'Real compromise' on U.S. infrastructure bill possible - Republican senator
 

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Comments (8)
Hung Pham
Hung Pham May 30, 2021 11:00PM ET
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Why don’t people who voted for democrats volunteer and pay more taxes lol
Knate Biro
Knate Biro May 30, 2021 8:54PM ET
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Democrats just to ram through every pet project they have by running around any sort of cooperation or compromise. Trump was 100% "my way or the highway." It is obvious that the democrats are exactly the same.
Investing Man
Investing Man May 30, 2021 8:13PM ET
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Roads and bridges need to be self maintained... big investment packages should be used for new and future ttchnology, wireless, chemicals, weapons, materials, education and tech.
Investing Man
Investing Man May 30, 2021 8:11PM ET
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Family care is the risponsibiliy of the family, but everything else is good.
Keng He
Keng He May 30, 2021 5:56PM ET
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it is ******
Klaus Weyers
Klaus Weyers May 30, 2021 3:45PM ET
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home care for the elderly.. how does that have to do with Infrastrukturen.. typical democratic vote buying under false pretense
Danny Thai
Danny Thai May 30, 2021 3:45PM ET
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u better learn more in regard of what “infrastructure system” is before typing. Infras. system: road, bridge, school, health care system... almost everything that serves the public’s needs.
Hung Pham
Hung Pham May 30, 2021 3:45PM ET
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Danny Thai hey VC what you doing in the US
Danny Thai
Danny Thai May 30, 2021 3:45PM ET
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Hung Pham you too, dude.(Cái thói chụp mũ, ngu dốt).ur question is telling the true color of who you are. The income tax is the responsibility of ever American, not just whether u r GOP or DEM.Who paid income tax for your welfare benefits when you & your family just came to this land?Look at yourself in the mirror before opening your bad breath.
Klaus Weyers
Klaus Weyers May 30, 2021 3:42PM ET
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if you work hard and make 500,000 vs someone else working hard making 100,000 you pay already much more let s say at a 20% tax rate.. so much more is given already by those who make much.. taxing the most productive at a higher progressive rate is the Definition of unfair..i have never grasped the concept of how a progressive tax System could possibly be fair.. we need a flat rate tax if you want Fairness.
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Mike Wellons
Mike Wellons May 30, 2021 3:42PM ET
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Glenn is on the right path, but left off that the person making 500k, earns the same 100k as the other person, but has "unearned" income of 400k, taxed at a lower rate. Why should unearned income be taxed at a lower rate the earned income? Even with a flat tax, it would be a tax increase because unearned income would be more heavily taxed
Mark Stallone
Mark Stallone May 30, 2021 3:42PM ET
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20% across the board. Doesn't matter if you make 40 mil, or 40k.. 20%.
Mark Stallone
Mark Stallone May 30, 2021 3:42PM ET
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Glenn Ebersole Your comment makes literally no sense regarding Kalus' very thought out, intelligent post.
Ji Go
Ji Go May 30, 2021 3:42PM ET
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I enjoy living in a country that incentivizes value creation. Onerously tax the creative risk takers and the Teslas and SpaceXs become the Boeings and NASAs.......... Hard pass.
Ji Go
Ji Go May 30, 2021 3:42PM ET
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Glenn Ebersole probably not, but I'm confident that the person generating $.5M/yr has created more jobs and value than their $100K counterpart. I'm also sure that they have much more capital at risk and exposure to tort, as well. If we want to be a model society, there need to be some guard rails to empower and protect the disadvantaged. Poverty leads to desperation, desperation leads to crime. So I'm not for banging the get rid of all entitlements drum. At the same time, while trickle down economics is a farce, innovation, productivity, and quality of life gains are a real thing. We live in a world with instant wireless communication, hand-held supercomputers, complimentary next day delivery, and the ability to harness the power of the wind and sun. At scale and available to all. If we deincentivize the innovators, what world would we live in? Is it fair to tell someone to take on risk to create potentially limitless value for a predetermined and finite reward?
Todd Gray
Todd Gray May 30, 2021 1:19PM ET
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Rich republicans agree on Sunday in their bible verse, to whom "much" is given "much" is required, but in reality their doctrine is to whom "much" is given, the "much" is "never" required. that's why I no longer vote. there are no honorable actions on either side. just words and hypocrisy. that's the norm.
Nick Johnson
Nick Johnson May 30, 2021 1:19PM ET
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The US is not a theocracy and Bible verses have no relevance to this discussion.
Steve Austin
Steve Austin May 30, 2021 1:19PM ET
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Republicans are no longer conservative. They are only selfish.
Billy Wood
Billy Wood May 30, 2021 1:19PM ET
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And you're greedy. Making the most successful pay for the mistakes or laziness of the less successful promotes failure and undeserved entitlement .
 
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