Biden Shows Openness to Infrastructure Negotiations With Republicans

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden by Evan Vucci/Associated Press

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President Joe Biden signaled a willingness to negotiate with Republicans on infrastructure policy ahead of a possible meeting with the ranking member on the Senate’s transportation committee.

The president said he invited Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to the White House. The top Republican on the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee is among the authors of a nearly $600 billion infrastructure blueprint, meant as an alternative to Biden’s $2.25 trillion version. The GOP outline’s policies are anchored on surface transportation modes, while the president’s proposal would cover climate change, social services and housing opportunities.

“Let’s decide on infrastructure, what they think is infrastructure,” Biden told reporters April 29. “Let’s decide what is, what are they prepared to consider in terms of what constitutes infrastructure; how much of it. And then we can talk about how to pay for it if we get to the point that we actually have a real number.”

The president’s remarks came shortly after he called on lawmakers to advance his comprehensive infrastructure proposal during his first address to a joint session of Congress. As part of the president’s infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan, $115 billion would go toward highways and bridges, $85 billion would go toward transit systems, $25 billion would be dedicated to airports and $17 billion for inland ports. The Biden plan’s primary source of funding would be to increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.

Senate Republicans would like to provide nearly $300 billion for surface corridors, $65 billion to boost access to broadband, $61 billion for transit systems, $44 billion for airports and $13 billion for certain transportation agencies.

“When it comes time for the rubber to meet the road, I urge [Biden] to put partisan politics aside and work with all of us to address these critical issues,” Capito said April 28, soon after the president’s address to Congress.

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