President Joe Biden’s unbelievably expensive infrastructure proposal has virtually zero support from the Republican side of the aisle, at least in its current form. But a new report suggests the tides may be changing.
According to Breitbart, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) hinted over the weekend that Republicans might cave and get on board with the bill if certain changes are made, including striking some items that don’t fall under the traditional definition of infrastructure.
Is Barrasso caving?
The Wyoming senator showed his hand over the weekend during an interview on ABC’s This Week, telling host Martha Raddatz that Senate Republicans could begin to digest the bill, though it would require modifications that will likely not fly with his Democratic colleagues.
“I actually believe there’s a deal to be had, if we leave things out like the Green New Deal and recyclable cafeteria trays and climate justice, because $500 billion to $600 billion of infrastructure is a massive amount of infrastructure,” Barrasso said, according to Breitbart.
Barrasso went on to describe the difference between hard infrastructure and “soft” infrastructure, the latter being items that Republicans say should not be in the proposed deal.
Raddatz, for her part, pointed to a recent poll that she claims indicates a majority of American voters don’t believe Republican leaders are doing enough to compromise with Democrats on the infrastructure package. She then firmly asked Barrasso, given his leadership position, if there are opportunities for compromise.
“We want to work together with this administration on true infrastructure and I think there’s a deal to be had,” Barrasso said, highlighting occasions when he says Republicans tried to compromise with the Biden administration on previous items and were ignored, as Breitbart noted.
Biden and Democrats backing the infrastructure plan are said to be in somewhat of a rush to make things happen before the media landscape shifts focus onto the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans are well poised to take back majority control in the lower chamber.
According to NBC News, a group of Republicans unveiled last month a $568 billion counterproposal to the president’s massive, $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan, though there hasn’t been much, if any, movement on negotiations. However, last week, Biden reportedly spoke to the GOP point person on infrastructure, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and gave reporters an update.
“Let’s decide 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,” Biden said, according to NBC. “If it’s like last time — and I don’t, I think she’s serious — but if, like last time, they come in with one-fourth or one-fifth of what I’m asking and say, ‘That’s a final offer,’ then it’s a no-go for me.”
The White House, which seems to be scrambling to solidify support from both parties at this point, has reportedly made some 415 phone calls to various members of Congress and their staffers to see where everyone stands on the issue. There are also a number of meetings planned in May between Biden and congressional leaders.
Only time will tell how many Republicans are willing to jump on board Biden’s plan — but it sounds like there’s still a lot of work to be done, and the clock is ticking.