Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, gestures during a daily press conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on May 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – White House officials working on a bipartisan infrastructure deal made a counter-offer to Republican senators on Friday, cutting their original proposal by $ 600 billion.
The latest offer would cost $ 1.7 trillion over a decade, according to a White House memo to West Virginia Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who leads negotiations for the GOP.
To reduce the original plan from $ 2.3 trillion to $ 1.7 trillion, the White House agrees:
Shift funding for research and development, small business and supply chain improvements from this package to separate laws under discussion in Congress. Reduce rural broadband funding from its original $ 100 billion offering to $ 65 billion. This would be in line with the Republicans' proposal for expanded broadband funding. The new funding requests for "roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects" have been reduced from an original USD 159 billion to USD 120 billion.
Republicans have proposed their own $ 568 billion infrastructure bill, with an emphasis on hard infrastructure, rural broadband, and transit.
In the Biden counteroffer, these are all areas that would be shortened.
The White House memo is more conspicuous for what it does not want to compromise than for what it does.
For example, the White House hasn't stepped back from the $ 400 billion Biden proposed to fund elderly and community care. Republicans argue that this does not fit the definition of "infrastructure".
Biden's offering also includes information on his proposed funding for electric vehicles, veterans hospitals, and labor training, all of which have been questioned by Republicans.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the counter-proposal "the art of searching for common ground."
The White House presented the counteroffer to Republican senators during a video conference that began shortly after lunch on Friday.
The White House team consists of Advisor to President Steve Ricchetti, Legislative Director Louisa Terrell, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg
Towards the end of the second week of formal negotiations, Republicans and Democrats seem no closer to a bipartisan compromise than they were at the beginning.
On the pay side, the White House counteroffer also includes one of the GOP red line problems: an increase in the corporate tax rate.
Senate Minority Chairman Mitch McConnell said any infrastructure plan that included a corporate tax increase would be rejected by the entire Republican caucus.
Shortly after Psaki announced the counteroffer, Reuters reported that Republicans did not see it as a "significant improvement," citing a source.
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