Republicans are rebuffing President Biden’s proposed changes to his infrastructure and jobs plan after the president lowered the spending proposal from $2.25 trillion to $1.7 trillion.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called the administration’s counteroffer “the art of seeking common ground,” but a spokesperson for the Republican senator leading negotiations said the proposal is still “well above the range of what can pass Congress with bipartisan support.”
Biden’s proposed cuts to the initial American Rescue Plan proposal include:
- Moving portions of the original plan related to small businesses, innovation, manufacturing and research and development into other pieces of pending legislation.
- Decreasing rural broadband funding from $100 to $65 billion to match the level of funding the GOP has proposed.
- Lowering the funding request for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects from $159 billion to $120 billion above current funding levels. That’s still $72 billion more than Republicans proposed.
But that is not enough for Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. “There continue to be vast differences between the White House and Senate Republicans when it comes to the definition of infrastructure, the magnitude of proposed spending, and how to pay for it,” said Kelley Moore, Capito’s communications director. “Based on today’s meeting, the groups seem further apart after two meetings with White House staff than they were after one meeting with President Biden.”
The White House told CNN on Saturday that Biden made revisions to the original plan “in the interest of finding bipartisan common ground” and that he found “cuts to his original proposal and a way to pay for it.” But Republicans and Democrats are still quite far apart on other portions of the plan, such as Biden’s $400 billion in proposed spending on home and community-based elder care, which Republicans say does not qualify as “infrastructure.”
Biden has proposed increasing the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to between 25 and 28 percent, restoring it to pre-2017 levels, to pay for the plan, but Republicans are not willing to give up the tax cuts they passed under Trump. The administration is now waiting for the GOP to respond. As White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates told CNN, “The ball is now in their court to respond with a good faith counter-offer.”
The American Rescue Plan is part of a two-fold idea to booster the economy following the pandemic. In April the White House debuted the second part of the proposal, the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which features investments in education, child care and working families with children.