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Biden is internet hosting the main GOP Democratic leaders in Congress as he seeks widespread floor for his grandiose plans

(L-R) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on May 12, 2021. The government says President Biden hopes to find common ground in his meeting with the leaders of Congress.

Doug Mills | Pool | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden met the Democratic and Republican leaders of both Houses of Congress at the White House on Wednesday, the first time in his presidency that Biden has met personally with the so-called Big Four.

On the Democratic side, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California attended, while Republicans were represented by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy from California. Vice President Kamala Harris also attended the meeting, which was held in the Oval Office.

"When I ran, I said I wasn't going to be a Democratic President, I was going to be a President for all Americans. And the bottom line is we'll see if we can reach consensus on a compromise," Biden said at the beginning.

"We're going to talk a lot about infrastructure today. And whether there is a way we can compromise that does the work of the people and is within the limits of everyone's approval," he said.

President Joe Biden snaps his fingers as he answers a reporter's question during a meeting with congressional officials in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 in Washington.

Evan Vucci | AP

After the meeting, McCarthy and McConnell spoke briefly to reporters.

McConnell said that almost all of the talks with the president have centered on infrastructure and that "there is a bipartisan desire to get a result". But he added that the two sides must first "define what infrastructure is".

The first part of Biden's two-part domestic policy agenda is the US $ 2.3 trillion employment plan, which targets a wide range of infrastructure spending spanning both traditional projects like roads and more advanced endeavors like expanding broadband.

Republicans have protested Biden's plan to classify projects such as expanded broadband and electric vehicle charging stations as "infrastructure".

McConnell also reiterated the GOP's red line in raising the corporate tax rate, which was lowered in 2017 under then-President Donald Trump to fund one of Biden's proposals.

"We're not interested in reopening the 2017 tax laws. We both made that clear with the president. This is our red line," McConnell said. "This discussion … does not include the review of the 2017 tax bill."

The second part of Biden's agenda is the $ 1.8 trillion plan for American families, which will fund four more years of free universal education, subsidize childcare for middle-class families, and expand paid family vacations and tax credits for Provides children.

During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to reach down the aisle and find areas of consensus between the two parties, which he believed would help repair the deeply divided nation.

Republicans say, however, that Biden can only hope to gain bipartisan support for part of his legislative agenda by reducing his infrastructure plan to less than half its current size and not funding it with corporate tax hikes, as Biden suggests. but with usage fees for drivers and transit drivers.

As far as the family and childcare plan is concerned, few, if any, potential areas of tradeoff have emerged to date.

Biden is also looking for similarities with a broken Republican Party, which further complicates the political calculation.

Wednesday's meeting came just hours after House Republicans expelled MP Liz Cheney, Wyo., From her position as chair of the GOP conference for refusing to accept former President Donald Trump's lie, that the 2020 elections had been rigged.

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