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Politics Where do infrastructure talks go from here now that Biden's negotiations with Republicans collapsed?

02:25  10 june  2021
02:25  10 june  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

What Joe Biden wants from this week’s critical infrastructure talks

  What Joe Biden wants from this week’s critical infrastructure talks The president and his team hold out hope for a deal. They also believe voters will reward them for trying.The president still has faith in his ability to win over reluctant Senate Republicans and advisers see benefits — reputationally and politically — in working across the aisle.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden's administration isn't giving up on a bipartisan infrastructure deal after talks with Republican senators collapsed and expressed openness to a strategy from Senate Democrats to pass certain components of the measure without Republicans support.

Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Mitt Romney, R-Utah,, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., take a break from a meeting on infrastructure for going to a vote at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. © Alex Wong, Getty Images Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Mitt Romney, R-Utah,, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., take a break from a meeting on infrastructure for going to a vote at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday.

Weeks of negotiations resulted in little headway, with major differences on costs and taxes going unreconciled. Republicans accused the president of changing his demands and being unwilling to compromise on his insistence on "social infrastructure" while the White House said the Republicans' offers didn't meet America's needs.

Infrastructure negotiations enter make-or-break week

  Infrastructure negotiations enter make-or-break week President Biden will sit down with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on Wednesday as his infrastructure negotiations with Republicans enter a critical and potentially final week. Administration officials have signaled this is a make-or-break week on bipartisan negotiations, with Biden hoping to pass an infrastructure bill with or without Republicans by the end of the summer. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said over the weekend that the Biden administration needs to have "clear direction" on infrastructure by June 7.

But the White House claimed it still has "multiple paths forward" for getting an infrastructure bill passed, including using a special legislative maneuver that doesn't require Republican backing, a separate House Democratic proposal and a bipartisan group of senators who have been meeting this week on a compromise.

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More: Biden ends infrastructure talks with GOP group of senators, pushes ahead with moderates

Biden opened talks with the group of around 20 senators that include Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Bill Cassidy, R-La., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

"(The president is) quite familiar with the fact that it takes some patience at times, that there are going to be moments when we're near death and then it comes back," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Air Force One as Biden flew to Europe on Wednesday. "That's always how policymaking, lawmaking, billmaking happens."

Biden proposes minimum corporate tax rate to fund $1 trillion infrastructure spending

  Biden proposes minimum corporate tax rate to fund $1 trillion infrastructure spending President Joe Biden on Wednesday proposed an infrastructure package worth $1 trillion in new spending that would be funded without raising the corporate tax rate. The new pitch aims to avoid Republican scorn by sidestepping the president's previously proposed corporate tax rate hike. It would instead implement a minimum corporate tax rate of 15%, aimed at some of the most profitable corporations in the country.

Talks underway with bipartisan group of senators

After Biden cut off negotiations with a group of Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia on Tuesday, he turned to the bipartisan group of senators that started gathering in recent weeks to explore their own infrastructure proposals as Biden's other talks fizzled.

Mitt Romney, Rob Portman are posing for a picture: Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy towards Belarus at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday in Washington. © Kevin Dietsch, Getty Images Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, attend a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. policy towards Belarus at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday in Washington.

Biden spoke to Manchin, Sinema and Cassidy on Tuesday night. The White House said he will continue speaking to the group by phone while in Europe.

But as new negotiations begin, some of the same differences have already emerged over taxes to pay for infrastructure spending and components that stray beyond Republicans' view of traditional infrastructure like roads, bridges and railroads.

Progressive groups are “fed up” with Biden’s infrastructure playbook

  Progressive groups are “fed up” with Biden’s infrastructure playbook Progressives want Biden to stop negotiating with Republicans and embrace budget reconciliation.Progressive groups, who cheered Biden passing his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus bill through Congress with only Democratic support early on, are growing increasingly frustrated over Biden’s prolonged infrastructure negotiations with Senate Republicans.

More: Biden offers to keep 2017 Trump tax cuts intact in infrastructure counteroffer to GOP

In his last infrastructure offer to Republicans, Biden reduced new spending to $1 trillion, down from the initial $2.25 trillion introduced in March with his American Jobs Plan.Capito and the GOP senators raised their counteroffer to $978 billion, but it included only around $300 billion new spending over already-approved funds, leaving a $700 billion difference with the president.

Portman, a negotiator in the group of senators Biden is working with now, said they are making progress, but did not disclose the cost of what they're they're exploring. He also set out similar parameters that led to disagreement with Biden in the previous talks, saying a package must involve only traditional physical infrastructure.

"Roads, bridges and hard assets, it's not social programs," Portman said.

More: 'The clock is ticking': Democrats grow restless with Biden's infrastructure talks as Republicans float next counteroffer

Dooming previous negotiations, Republicans opposed any spending beyond roads, bridges, airports and other traditional physical infrastructure as Biden stayed committed to "social infrastructure" that includes caregiving for the disabled and elderly and investments to tackle climate change.

Biden turns to Romney and Manchin for $900bn infrastructure bill

  Biden turns to Romney and Manchin for $900bn infrastructure bill By David Morgan, Susan Cornwell and Trevor HunnicuttWASHINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Tuesday broke off talks on an infrastructure billShelley Moore Capito, a Republican representing West Virginia, had been liaising with the White House over the bill. But their talks collapsed on Tuesday.

Romney said Democrats would likely have to pursue climate-change initiatives outside of an infrastructure bill. He also ruled out corporate tax increases that would rewind the 2017 tax cuts, as Biden proposed in his American Jobs Plan, and user fees, which Biden opposes.

"In our pay fors, there are no tax increases. And that's a red line for Republicans," Romney said.

White House open to reconciliation

If Biden doesn't reach an agreement, Democrats could choose to push through an infrastructure package using budget reconciliation, a legislative maneuver subject to certain rules that would allow the bill to pass with only a simple majority in the evenly divided Senate. In essence, it would allow Democrats, who control the chamber, to pass a proposal without any Republican support.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Senate Democrats are pursuing a "two-path proposal" that includes reconciliation. He floated a scenario in which Biden reaches a bipartisan deal on traditional infrastructure such as roads, bridges and broadband and Democrats try to pass another piece of legislation through reconciliation that would contain initiatives on which the two sides couldn't come to an agreement.

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One prior to his departure from Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England on Wednesday. © Brendan Smialowski, AFP via Getty Images President Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One prior to his departure from Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England on Wednesday.

"It may well be that part of the bill that will pass will be bipartisan, part of it will be through reconciliation," Schumer said. "But we're not going to sacrifice the bigness and boldness in this bill. We will just pursue two paths and at some point they will join.”

After 1st round fails, where do infrastructure talks stand?

  After 1st round fails, where do infrastructure talks stand? Almost as soon as infrastructure talks died, they were resurrected under new leadership. © Samuel Corum/Getty Images While President Joe Biden jets off to Europe to attend to international matters, a coalition of Senate Democrats and Republicans are huddled up at the Capitol charting what they hope will be a new path forward on infrastructure. New negotiations bring a whole new host of questions about how a deal on what has become a politically divisive package might be struck and what that deal might look like. Wait. Aren't infrastructure talks over? Think again.

Some Democrats, not convinced Republicans are serious about negotiations, have been advocating for this approach for weeks.

More: Biden to propose $1.8 trillion 'families plan' with paid leave, child care, universal pre-K, free community college

Psaki said Biden is open to Schumer's two-pronged strategy that includes reconciliation. She noted proposals in Biden's $1.8 trillion families plan such as extending child tax credits, universal prekindergarten and free community college are not among areas being negotiated with lawmakers.

"So that would be natural components that would be added to the budget process," she said.

The reconciliation process would mirror how Biden passed his COVID-19 rescue plan in March, but it carries risk because all 50 Democratic senators would need to be on board. Manchin, a key moderate swing vote, has not said whether he supports using reconciliation to pass an infrastructure bill.

More: Manchin's staunch opposition to ending filibuster puts Biden's agenda in jeopardy

House Democrats introduce their own infrastructure proposals

The White House has pointed to ongoing efforts in the House as another pathway for infrastructure. But one bill pushed by Democrats represents just a fraction of the spending Biden wants while another from a bipartisan group would face an uphill climb for support in the Senate.

On Wednesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee began taking up a five-year, $547 billion transportation bill known as the Invest in America Act that could turn into a vehicle for a Democrats-only infrastructure bill.

After crafting $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, bipartisan group of senators start lobbying White House, colleagues

  After crafting $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, bipartisan group of senators start lobbying White House, colleagues The deal would not raise the corporate tax rate, which Biden had proposed. And it wouldn't hike the 18.4-cent federal per-gallon gas tax.The deal, reported by several media outlets and confirmed by a Senate source familiar with the deal, would focus on traditional transportation programs such as rail, bridges and waterways. It would not include "soft" infrastructure such as climate change and housing, which Biden had called for in his original $2.25 trillion American Jobs Act.

The measure includes earmarks, funding for specific projects usually inserted into broad spending bills by lawmakers.

More: 'Big question is the scope': Biden, GOP still at odds over 'social infrastructure' as White House signals it wants deal soon

House Republicans, who proposed a $400 billion package last month, oppose the measure. Only a fraction of the bill is made up of earmarks (roughly $5.7 billion) but there’s hope by the bill’s sponsors that it might help sway reluctant Republicans to support it.

Democrats and Republicans in the House who make up the Problem Solves Caucus unveiled their entry into the infrastructure sweepstakes: an eight-year, $1.25 trillion package that would modernize not only traditional transportation such as roads, bridges and rail but would also address broadband, veterans’ housing, electric vehicles and Superfund sites.

a person sitting on a table: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, speaks during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. © Al Drago, POOL/AFP via Getty Images Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, speaks during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.

More: GOP senators pitch new $928 billion infrastructure plan in latest offer to Biden

The plan from the group of 58 lawmakers would rely on a combination of increased private partnerships to pay for the bill as well as some modest increases in revenue, such as indexing the current federal 18.4-cent per gallon gas tax to inflation and imposing a “modest” annual registration fee on fully electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

“It's critically important that we get a robust infrastructure package signed into law, and that we do it with strong bipartisan support,” said Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.

But illustrating the difficulty of reaching compromise, the Problem Solvers Caucus' plan calls for modest tax and revenue increases – tax hikes that go against what Republicans in the bipartisan group have said they would accept.

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Where do infrastructure talks go from here now that Biden's negotiations with Republicans collapsed?

Biden and his aviators greet queen on a sunny afternoon .
WINDSOR, England (AP) — President Joe Biden and his aviator sunglasses met Queen Elizabeth II on bright Sunday afternoon. The queen hosted the president and first lady Jill Biden at Windsor Castle, her royal residence near London. Biden flew to London after wrapping up his participation in a three-day summit of leaders of the world's wealthy democracies in Cornwall, in southwestern England. He arrived at the castle aboard the presidential helicopter and was ferried to the queen in a black Range Rover.

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