Biden Ends Infrastructure Negotiations With Republican Senators

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President Joe Biden speaks at Sportrock Climbing Centers, Friday, May 28, 2021, in Alexandria, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today released the below statement following her call with President Joe Biden where he ended the infrastructure negotiations.

“I spoke with the president this afternoon and he ended our infrastructure negotiations. As Republicans, we believe in our nation’s infrastructure, which is why our negotiating team—which consisted of the Ranking Members from the committees of jurisdiction—consistently worked in good faith with President Biden and were optimistic that we could reach a bipartisan agreement for the sake of the country. Throughout our negotiations, we engaged respectfully, fully, and very candidly—delivering several serious counteroffers that each represented the largest infrastructure investment Republicans have put forth.

“In our discussions with the president, he himself made it clear that he was willing to accept an offer around $1 trillion, that baseline spending would and could be included, and that a plan could stretch over an 8-year period of time. The president also understood one of our red lines, which was not undoing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which has helped so many Americans. Our latest offer, coupled with legislation the Senate is expected to pass today, would have exceeded the president’s threshold.

“Despite the progress we made in our negotiations, the president continued to respond with offers that included tax increases as his pay for, instead of several practical options that would have not been harmful to individuals, families, and small businesses.

“While I appreciate President Biden’s willingness to devote so much time and effort to these negotiations, he ultimately chose not to accept the very robust and targeted infrastructure package, and instead, end our discussions. However, this does not mean bipartisanship isn’t feasible. The Senate EPW Committee continues to demonstrate bipartisan action on infrastructure. In a one-month period, our committee passed a bipartisan water and wastewater infrastructure bill out of the Senate and passed a surface transportation bill unanimously out of committee. Moving forward, I will continue building on this momentum and working with my colleagues to advance bipartisan solutions like these.

“After negotiating in good faith and making significant progress to move closer to what the president wanted, I am disappointed by his decision.”

White House Statement by Press Secretary Jen Psaki:

The President has spoken to a number of members of the House and Senate the past two days.

He informed Senator Capito today that the latest offer from her group did not, in his view, meet the essential needs of our country to restore our roads and bridges, prepare us for our clean energy future, and create jobs. He offered his gratitude to her for her efforts and good faith conversations, but expressed his disappointment that, while he was willing to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, the Republican group had increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion.

The President also spoke with Senators Sinema, Cassidy, and Manchin today. He urged them to continue their work with other Democrats and Republicans to develop a bipartisan proposal that he hopes will be more responsive to the country’s pressing infrastructure needs. The President said that he would be in contact with members of the group by phone while in Europe, and he designated his Jobs Cabinet and White House aides Steve Ricchetti, Louisa Terrell, and Brian Deese to meet with them in person to advance this effort.

From Day One, the President has been clear that he has two red lines: he will not raise taxes on Americans who make under $400,000 and he will not accept inaction as the outcome. To ensure that the American Jobs Plan moves forward on a timely basis, the President spoke with Speaker Pelosi to consult with her on efforts to move forward on a jobs package in the House this month. In the same regard, the President also spoke with Senate Majority Leader Schumer to discuss the need to commence work on the budget resolution process so that legislation to advance the President’s economic priorities and tax reform plans could move to the Senate floor in July. The President is committed to moving his economic legislation through Congress this summer, and is pursuing multiple paths to get this done.

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