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Biden 'prepared to compromise' on infrastructure, wants Republican proposal by May

WorldApr 19, 2021 06:45PM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Biden holds coronavirus response meeting with members of Congress at the White House in Washington 2/3

By Jarrett Renshaw and Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden met on Monday with a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have all served as governors or mayors, as the White House seeks a deal on his more than $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure proposal.

Biden said he handpicked the group of former state and local leaders with experience as compromise seekers, hoping he can get Democrats and Republicans to agree on an ambitious jobs and infrastructure package. The group included one Republican lawmaker who tried to block Biden's presidential victory.

"I am prepared to compromise and prepared to see what we can do and what we can come together on," Biden said at the outset of the meeting. "I've noticed everybody's for infrastructure. The question is who's going to pay for it."

The meeting included five Democrats -- Senators John Hickenlooper of Colorado and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and U.S. Representatives Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, Charlie Crist of Florida and Norma Torres of California; four Republicans -- Senators John Hoeven of North Dakota and Mitt Romney of Utah and U.S. Representatives Carlos Gimenez of Florida and Kay Granger of Texas; and one independent -- Senator Angus King of Maine.

Lawmakers emerged from the meeting optimistic they could reach a deal, but divided over how to fund it and what should be included.

Romney said he favored making the consumers who use the nation's ports, highways and airports help fund the effort, not relying exclusively on taxing corporations.

"So if we're going to redo an airport, I think it makes sense to look at the people who are flying to pay for the cost over some period of time," he told reporters

Biden has opposed user fees, citing his pledge not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $400,000.

Gimenez, who voted against certifying Biden's election victory, said Republicans made it clear they wanted a narrow bill that does not raise corporate taxes. He told Reuters Biden asked Republicans to come back with a counterproposal in mid-May.

"There is room for compromise as far as we’re concerned, on infrastructure," Gimenez said. "The difference is: what is the definition of infrastructure?"

Cleaver said he argued that affordable housing should be considered infrastructure. To drive home his point, he showed others a photo of a house he lived in for seven years as a child. "It's shack," he said.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican leading the effort to produce a conceptual framework on infrastructure, said she expects to speak to the White House on Tuesday.

Shaheen, a former governor, emerged from the meeting optimistic. "There is common ground in Congress on these infrastructure priorities - we can and should get this done," she said.

It was the second time Biden hosted a bipartisan group of lawmakers to try to craft an infrastructure bill.

Most U.S. voters support fixing the country's crumbling roads and bridges and asking companies to pay the bill. But Republicans in Congress say Biden's proposal is too big and most of them oppose raising corporate taxes.

Last week, Biden met with eight members of Congress in the Oval Office for nearly two hours to discuss the bill. Afterward, Republicans indicated little signs of support.

Biden's $2 trillion-plus American Jobs Plan calls for spending on traditional infrastructure projects like roads and bridges along with addressing climate change and expanding access to home and community-based care.

The eight-year spending plan would be funded by increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, while limiting the ability of American companies to avoid taxes by shifting profits overseas.

Representative Crist, a former governor, said Biden felt "pretty strongly" about raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent as part of the package.

He said Biden was "a bit skeptical" about scaling back the tax hike, as suggested by some such as Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a key vote in the Senate given the razor-thin majority his party has there.

Biden 'prepared to compromise' on infrastructure, wants Republican proposal by May
 

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Comments (9)
William Smith
William Smith Apr 20, 2021 11:56AM ET
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How funny, the Big Guy put his diaper under his mask.
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Apr 19, 2021 9:42PM ET
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Take away from old people (pension money) to spend on corrupt infrastructure plan
Frederick Chotsky
Chotsky Apr 19, 2021 9:42PM ET
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No, Bill Clinton sent manufacturing to China, in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation. By the way, it seems that in your anger, you crapped your own pants. Go change your diaper, snow flake.
Ben Ben Tan
Ben Ben Tan Apr 19, 2021 9:42PM ET
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if not China, then it will be india or any other poor countries whose people who are willing to do the work and get paid 1/10 of what american demands.
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Apr 19, 2021 7:57PM ET
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Biden owes a lot of ppl money for the election. Especially in : Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Madison/Milwaukee. JFK learned the hard way by not paying back..Bad ending
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Apr 19, 2021 7:57PM ET
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Tinfoil on too tight Steve its cutting blood circulation to your brain.
William Smith
William Smith Apr 19, 2021 7:57PM ET
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He mostly owes computer programmers and dead folks.
Louis Lipps
Louis Lipps Apr 19, 2021 6:50PM ET
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lol guy has had the vaccine yet he's wearing two masks.  What a gas light.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 19, 2021 6:19PM ET
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Of course Americans are for “fixing the country's crumbling roads and bridges”, the problem is the bill does too little of that.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 19, 2021 6:19PM ET
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I remember Obama/Biden promising big infrastructure spending after the financial crisis. Then to it went mostly to bailing out cities and a failed green spending plan.
Clinton Powell
Clinton Powell Apr 19, 2021 6:19PM ET
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Remember shivel ready jobs??!!! Lmfao
Clinton Powell
Clinton Powell Apr 19, 2021 6:19PM ET
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Remember shivel ready jobs??!!! Lmfao
ben sc
ben sc Apr 19, 2021 2:41PM ET
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everything is infrastructure! print baby print!
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Apr 19, 2021 2:41PM ET
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Haha money printer go brrrr
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Apr 19, 2021 12:22PM ET
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Mitt Romney is a Democrat everyone knows this
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Apr 19, 2021 12:22PM ET
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Lmfao sure kid
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 19, 2021 11:50AM ET
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I want just the infrastructure part of the bill, not the pork part!!!
vince gallegos
vince gallegos Apr 19, 2021 11:38AM ET
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