For the past several weeks, President Joe Biden has engaged in negotiations on infrastructure spending with certain Republican lawmakers, such as Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), and while both sides have made some concessions in search of agreement, there remains a wide gulf between them.
On Friday, the White House revealed that Biden had rejected Capito’s latest counteroffer as it did not increase spending over the GOP’s initial offer as much as he had wanted, Breitbart reported.
The first major sticking point holding up negotiations is the fact that Democrats want a massive spending bill covering a wide range of issues while Republicans prefer a smaller bill focused more narrowly on traditional infrastructure. The other hold-up is how to pay for it all, as the GOP has balked at Biden’s proposed tax hikes.
Still no agreement
According to a statement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Biden spoke with Capito and listened to her latest offer that included an additional $50 billion in spending on top of what had previously been put forward.
“The President expressed his gratitude for her effort and goodwill, but also indicated that the current offer did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs,” Psaki said.
She added that Biden had made it clear he was open to a continuation of negotiations on an infrastructure package and that the president and senator were scheduled to speak again Monday.
GOP nearly doubled counteroffer proposals
Last week, Capito’s office shared a news article tracking the ongoing negotiations on infrastructure spending which showed that, prior to the latest offer of an extra $50 billion, Republicans put forward an eight-year plan costing taxpayers an estimated $928 billion.
That was a substantial increase over an initial GOP counteroffer of a five-year $568 billion plan, but still not to Biden’s liking.
Biden, meanwhile, has put forward some concessions of his own, as he has reduced his initial demand of $2.3 trillion down to $1.7 trillion.
CNBC reported Friday that the president has also relented somewhat in his demand for a rollback of some of the 2017 tax cuts to help pay for the exorbitant spending, particularly with regard to his proposed increase of the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, something that Republicans have stridently opposed.
Biden has suggested a smaller increase of the corporate tax rate to 25% — which Republicans still oppose — as well as a proposal of creating a 15% minimum rate for corporations that would eliminate various loopholes some corporations are able to exploit to avoid the 21% rate.
Negotiations are expected to continue next week, and Biden has made it clear that he will settle for nothing less than at least $1 trillion in new spending with some tax hikes, perhaps around the margins, in order to pay for it. It remains to be seen if either side will be willing to make any further concessions.