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- President Joe Biden decided to end infrastructure talks after weeks of efforts
- The White House will pursue a deal between a separate bipartisan group of lawmakers
President Joe Biden has called off the negotiations over an infrastructure package that had to be reshaped and resized several times to appeal to a group of six Senate Republicans. Progress over the plan has been stalling recently and that led to yesterday’s decision by the President to officially end the talks.
The President will now shift his focus to a bipartisan group in renewed efforts to reach an infrastructure compromise on the sticking points in the proposal. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, have expressed willingness to pursue approval of several measures without support from Republicans through the process called reconciliation.
Key issues that left the two parties unable to strike a deal included the size of the spending package and the ways to pay for it. Even after both sides exchanged offers in an attempt to salvage the talks, they did little to narrow the wide gap that left the two sides deeply divided.
On that note, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Mr. Biden had called Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the leading Republican negotiator, and had informed her that some of the proposed measures by the Republicans did not meet the threshold for spending. These measures included clean energy and job creation.
No Consensus Between the Republicans and President Biden
Republicans blamed Mr. Biden for being unwilling to continue the negotiations after it took several weeks to regularly hammer out new details over the proposal. Republicans also mentioned the President refused to scale down the cost of the plan to a level acceptable by the GOP.
“He [Mr. Biden] 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,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
In turn, Ms. Capito said in a statement she appreciates “President Biden’s willingness to devote so much time and effort to these negotiations.” However, “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 statement said. “After negotiating in good faith and making significant progress to move closer to what the president wanted, I am disappointed by his decision,” she concluded.
Several days before the negotiations ended officially, hopes for reaching an agreement had dimmed on the lack of will by both sides to compromise on their proposed measures. Mr. Biden’s latest offer was calling for $1tn in new spending. The ticket size was above the targeted amount of the Republicans which have pushed forward a $928bn in spending over eight years. Moreover, the two sides could not find common ground on how to cover the cost of the spending. Raising the corporate tax rate, as suggested by President Biden, was met with disapproval by the Republicans.
The White House will now aim to strike a deal between a bipartisan group of lawmakers as another possible way to reach a compromise. “The President is committed to moving his economic legislation through Congress this summer, and is pursuing multiple paths to get this done,” Ms. Psaki said.
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