President Joe Biden seems to be dedicating his first year in the White House to passing as much legacy legislation as possible — and that includes a proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure bill.
After months of bickering over the cost of the measure and what constitutes “infrastructure,” Senate Republicans presented the president with a generous come-up in what they’ll accept, price-wise, for Biden’s new bill. But according to Breitbart, even though Republicans were willing to compromise to the tune of nearly $1 trillion, Biden made the decision to reject their latest offer outright on Friday.
Negotiations remain stalled
Biden was reportedly pleased with Republicans’ efforts to come closer to meeting him — and Democrats — somewhere in the middle on the proposed legislation, but the president ultimately wasn’t sold on the GOP’s latest offering, which included a $50 billion price increase to bring the total to $978 billion.
To this point, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) has acted as the liaison between Senate Republicans and the White House. It was Capito who called Biden and proposed the compromise that he turned down — a decision defended by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday.
“The President expressed his gratitude for her effort and goodwill, but also indicated that the current offer did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs,” Psaki said, according to Breitbart.
At the crux of the stalled negotiations is the definition of “infrastructure,” as Republicans have taken a more traditional definition that comprises roads, bridges, and power grids.
Democrats, on the other hand, seem to have greatly expanded the definition of the word to include green energy initiatives, childcare efforts, and other “soft” infrastructure items that would significantly boost the overall cost of the legislative proposal — and the GOP isn’t on board.
How will we pay for it?
Beyond the final price tag of the massive bill, both parties also remain at odds over how exactly it will be funded, creating another layer of negotiations to overcome in an already hurdle-filled process.
According to the New York Post, Republicans have suggested utilizing unspent COVID-19 relief funds to offset the cost of the bill — an idea rejected by most Democrats.
Dems, including Biden, have suggested that the bill should be partially funded through a steep increase on corporate tax rates, along with new taxes on massive corporations like Amazon that typically take advantage of a long list of tax loopholes.
Not surprisingly, Republicans aren’t fond of taking the route of increasing taxes to pay for a bill that they’re not terribly excited about in the first place.
Sen. Capito is reportedly scheduled to have another call with the president in the near future, likely so the two can continue to negotiate. Only time will tell, however, if an agreement can ever be reached in a deeply divided Washington.