Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) told President Joe Biden in a Friday meeting that Senate Republicans have agreed to raise their infrastructure spending proposal by $50 billion to just under $1 trillion, but Biden, who still wants to spend far more, declined the offer.
Capito told Biden on a phone call the spending would be “across a number of infrastructure programs,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Biden “expressed his gratitude for her effort and goodwill” but said the offer still does not meet his objectives to “grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis and create new jobs,” according to Psaki.
The call was the second time Biden and Capito spoke this week – after an in-person meeting on Wednesday – and they plan to speak again on Monday.
Biden also proposed a minimum 15% corporate tax rate as an alternative to his initial proposal of a 28% corporate tax hike – but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that would be a “hard sell” for senators in both parties.
Biden also spoke by phone with Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the chair of the House Transportation Committee. According to Psaki, the two “agreed on the benefits of continued engagement with Democratic and Republican senators,” amid rumblings among some Democratic lawmakers about using budget reconciliation to cut Republicans out of the process.
“I don’t think we should. I really don’t,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told NBC News on Thursday when asked about using budget reconciliation to pass an infrastructure package. Manchin would be key to that process, which allows Democrats to pass certain bills with a simple majority rather than having to gather 10 Republican votes to overcome a filibuster.
What To Watch For
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a CNN interview last week that he expects Biden to make a decision on how to move forward on infrastructure by Monday, stating “we are getting pretty close to a fish or cut bait moment.”