President Biden has ended negotiations with Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Republicans over infrastructure legislation. According to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, Biden told Capito on Tuesday that the latest GOP offer didn’t “meet the essential needs of our country” to fix roads and bridges, prepare the nation for a future reliant on clean energy and create jobs. Psaki said that Mr. Biden has talked with several House and Senate lawmakers over the past two days, and he appreciated Capito’s efforts and “good faith conversations,” but he was disappointed that after he had reduced his plan by over $1 trillion, Republicans had “increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion.”
The president will now turn his attention to a bipartisan group of senators preparing their own infrastructure proposal. Psaki said he has spoken with Senators Sinema, Cassidy, and Manchin, and he plans to stay in touch with the lawmakers while he’s in Europe. A bipartisan team led by Republican Senator Mitt Romney, of Utah, had been working on an alternative to the offer by Capito’s group as a backup in case its talks with the White House foundered.
In a statement on Tuesday, Capito said that she was “disappointed by his decision” to end negotiations, adding, “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. 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.”
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