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President Joe Biden’s negotiations on an infrastructure deal with Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito appeared to stall June 7 and a bipartisan group of senators say they are ready to step in with an alternative.
Capito, who is leading the discussions for Republicans, said she’s bringing no new counteroffer to a conversation with Biden that’s scheduled for June 8 after he rejected the latest GOP proposal last week.
“We made a good, robust effort — the biggest infrastructure package ever, with pay-fors we delineated. And instead, it’s not enough,” Capito told reporters at the Capitol. “We’re going to keep talking. But I’m not coming back with anything in the next 24 hours.”
Separately, GOP Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said he and five other senators have drawn up with another infrastructure proposal that they’ll be presenting to a wider, bipartisan group of 20 lawmakers.
“Our subcommittee, six of us, have reached a final number and how we’d spend the money and also how we’d pay for it,” Romney said, declining to give any details.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said June 7 that the administration was open to discussing a proposal from the bipartisan group.
“Ultimately, we’re looking to have enough of a coalition to move forward on these bold, historic ideas, and we obviously don’t have that at this moment but we’re working toward that,” Psaki said.
Biden is set to talk with Capito before leaving June 9 for a trip to Europe to meet with other world leaders.
The GOP offer from Capito on its face totals $928 billion in spending over eight years, but only $257 billion of that would be new net spending above amounts Congress was expected to approve anyway. That offer came after Biden lowered his initial demand for a $2.3 trillion bill to $1.7 trillion, all of which would be new spending.
The extended negotiations are threatening Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s goal of wrapping up the infrastructure portion of Biden’s $4 trillion economic agenda before Congress breaks for its August recess.
— With assistance from Laura Davison.
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