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What Led Biden to Walk Away from Infrastructure Talks with Republicans

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Biden ended infrastructure negotiations with a group of GOP lawmakers, led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the White House said Tuesday.

The development came after Biden reportedly failed to get the Republicans on board with increasing their overall spending on the plan.


"He [Biden] informed Senator Capito today that the latest offer from her group did not, in his view, meet the essential needs of our country to restore our roads and bridges, prepare us for our clean energy future, and create jobs," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. "He offered his gratitude to her for her efforts and good faith conversations, but expressed his disappointment that, while he was willing to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, the Republican group had increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion."

Capito said she was "disappointed" by the president's decision to end talks.

"Despite the progress we made in our negotiations, the president continued to respond with offers that included tax increases as his pay for, instead of several practical options that would have not been harmful to individuals, families, and small businesses," she said in a statement. "While I appreciate President Biden's willingness to devote so much time and effort to these negotiations, he ultimately chose not to accept the very robust and targeted infrastructure package, and instead, end our discussions."

There were numerous areas of disagreement. Biden had originally proposed raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent as part of the plan, but many Republicans remained adamant that they wouldn’t support a change in the corporate tax rate. Biden later showed an openness to only raising the rate to 25 percent, and last week began pushing Republicans to see if they would accept any tax changes whatsoever.

Many Republicans had agreed that there needed to be large investments in U.S. infrastructure, but they had alleged that Biden’s original definition of “infrastructure” was too broad. For example, many Republicans objected to Biden’s original proposal, which would include large levels of spending on things such as elder care and other services. (WaPo)


Republican Sen. John Barrasso said Tuesday Biden never moved toward "core infrastructure." 

"He had lots of broad requests for things that the American people don't see as infrastructure, and he has never backed away from his desire to continue to want to raise taxes," he said. 

Biden is now turning his focus to negotiations with a group of 20 Republican and Democratic senators.  

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