President Joe Biden called off talks with a group of Republican senators on an infrastructure plan on Tuesday after the two sides couldn’t agree on a price tag.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who led Republicans in the discussions, said she received a phone call from Biden regarding the infrastructure talks on Tuesday.
“I spoke with the president this afternoon, and he ended our infrastructure negotiations,” she said in a statement. “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.”
Capito said she was “disappointed by his decision.”
Biden initially proposed a $2 trillion package in March that included two parts — the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan — to focus on modernizing transportation infrastructure, including roads, bridges and airports. He also sought to boost the electric vehicle market, expand broadband Internet access, upgrade schools and affordable housing, increase job training, and care for elderly and disabled Americans.
After Republicans objected to the bill’s cost, Biden reduced it twice, first to $1.7 trillion and then to $1 trillion last week.
In late May, Republican negotiators responded with a $928 billion plan that contained $330 billion in new expenditure.
Biden expressed “gratitude to [Capito] 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.” according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Biden moved on from working with the GOP negotiators and instead reached out to a bipartisan group working on their own proposal — Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
“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,” Psaki said.
Biden planned to pay for his infrastructure package with increased taxes on corporations and the wealthy, but last week told Republicans he was willing to negotiate on how much the corporate tax was increased, and offered to ditch the hike entirely to gain Republican support.