Biden and Capito to Continue Infrastructure Talks on Monday
There were few details about how negotiations had progressed, as both sides struggled to bridge differences over how to structure and finance sweeping public works projects.
Biden and Capito agree to continue infrastructure talks on Monday.
President Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, discussing the administration’s infrastructure plan last month.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times
President Biden spoke on Friday with Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, the top Republican negotiating an infrastructure package, agreeing to speak again on Monday as part of an ongoing effort to narrow what started as an almost $2 trillion gap in new spending plans for roads, bridges, and public works projects.
Kelley Moore, a spokeswoman for Ms. Capito, confirmed the pair discussed Mr. Biden’s proposal and the latest Republican framework for an overall $928 billion infrastructure package that would include about $257 billion in new funding, as well as the plans to speak again on Monday.
But there were few details about how negotiations had progressed, as both sides struggled to bridge differences over how to structure and finance sweeping public works projects. While Mr. Biden dropped some of his demands in the hopes of securing bipartisan agreement on at least part of his economic agenda, Republicans on Capitol Hill remain wary about Mr. Biden’s ambitions for new spending and his plans to pay for that spending with what they view as tax increases.
Compromise has been elusive so far, with Mr. Biden rejecting Republican counterproposals that included far less spending and no tax increases on corporations and the wealthy. On Wednesday, in a meeting in the Oval Office with Ms. Capito, Mr. Biden again pushed for more spending, but he also suggested establishing a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations as opposed to increasing top-end rates.
Jen Psaki, the White House secretary, said on Friday that “there’s runway left” for negotiations with Republicans, and reiterated that the White House was open to speaking to a variety of lawmakers in order to move forward with what could be one of the most substantial infrastructure investments in recent memory.
But, she noted, “there are some realities of timelines.”
Mr. Biden was also set to speak on Friday with Representative Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. On Friday, Mr. DeFazio unveiled legislation that would provide $547 billion over five years for several federal transportation programs.
“This is a once-in-a-multigenerational opportunity to change course in America and make us once again, the envy of the world,” Mr. DeFazio said.
It was unclear on Friday, however, how that legislation would be incorporated into Mr. Biden’s larger proposal for new infrastructure spending, or similar legislation in the Senate. Mr. DeFazio advocated for using the regular legislative process to advance the bill, telling reporters that “some of that, it would be difficult to accomplish in any other form other than regular order.”