Infrastructure week continues
After President Biden hosted Republican infrastructure negotiator Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on Wednesday afternoon, the White House called the Oval Office meeting "constructive and frank" while Capito's office said she was "encouraged that negotiations have continued." But despite these "bland statements," Politico reports Thursday morning, Biden made a new offer and "the GOP is considering another counteroffer that could come as soon as Friday, when Capito will be talking to Biden again, this time likely by phone."
Capito briefed her fellow GOP negotiators Wednesday night, and three people familiar with the talks told Politico that Biden's new offer is $1 trillion in new spending, down from $1.7 trillion and his initial $2.3 trillion plan. Biden also is reportedly insisting that the spending be partially paid for by raising the corporate tax rate. The Republicans, who raised their initial $568 billion counteroffer to $928 billion, with only $257 billion in new spending, "weren't happy, to say the least," Politico says, and Capito and her group haven't decided what their next move will be.
At the same time, "the White House is making it increasingly clear that time is running out to craft a bipartisan agreement," The Washington Post reports. Biden has an "honest and earnest desire" to reach a bipartisan deal, "and there's definitely optimism on both sides," Energy Secretary Jennifer Graholm said on CNBC Wednesday. But "there is a time limit on this."
"Patience is not unending, and he wants to make progress," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said a bit later. Biden's "only line in the sand is inaction," she added. "He wants to sign a bill into law this summer."
"I don't think Senate Republicans are interested in $1 trillion in new spending, or changing the tax cuts ... or raising other taxes — and that's been clear from Day 1," one person familiar with the talks told Politico. "It's a great dance but at some point the music is going to stop. Clearly nobody wants to be holding the bag."