WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden has ended talks with a group of Republican senators over a big infrastructure package and has started reaching out to senators on both sides as he struggles to build a compromise bipartite on its legislative priority.
The president is walking away from talks with chief Republican negotiator Senator Shelley Moore Capito after the two spoke on Tuesday, according to an administration official who granted anonymity to discuss the private reflection. The president believes she negotiated in good faith and would welcome her to the bipartisan talks, the official said.
The rift comes as the two sides were unable to bridge the gap over the scope of the president’s massive infrastructure investment and how to pay for it.
Republicans came up with a $ 928 billion proposal, which included about $ 330 billion in new spending – but not as much as Biden’s $ 1.7 trillion investment proposal for rebuilding roads, bridges, highways and other infrastructure across the country, including Virginia hospitals and health centers.
Talks broke down on two fundamental issues, the official said. Republican senators could not significantly increase the dollar amount of new investments or devise specific ways of paying for them.
Biden rejected the suggestion of GOP senators to use unspent COVID-19 money to fund new infrastructure spending.
At the same time, Biden began contacting other senators, including Republicans who are part of a bipartisan group with Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who meets later Tuesday on Capitol Hill to negotiate a new proposal. .
The president is expected to engage with lawmakers as he embarks on his first overseas trip this week for an economic summit of the Group of Seven industrialized countries in Europe.