By David Morgan, Susan Cornwell and Trevor Hunnicutt
WASHINGTON, Jun 8 (.) – President Joe Biden broke off talks on an infrastructure bill with a top Republican senator on Tuesday, and will instead negotiate with a bipartisan group, after dialogue with Congresswoman Shelley Capito it was like talking to a “wall”.
Biden changed course after Capito, leader of a group of six Senate Republicans dealing with the negotiations, offered $ 330 billion in new infrastructure spending, well below Biden’s offer, which he had cut to 1 , 7 trillion dollars.
“(Biden) informed Senator Capito today that her group’s latest offer did not meet, in her opinion, the essential needs of our country,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
“He offered his gratitude … but expressed his disappointment that, while he was willing to cut his plan by more than $ 1 trillion, the Republican group had increased its proposed new investments by only $ 150 billion.” said Psaki.
Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the talks “appear to be hitting a wall.”
Capito spoke by phone for five minutes with the Democratic president Tuesday, a spokesman for the senator said.
“After negotiating in good faith and making significant progress to get closer to what the president wanted, I am disappointed in his decision,” Capito said in a statement.
Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, breathed new life into the possibility of some kind of bipartisan bill being improvised that could ultimately be added to an exclusively Democratic bill to achieve $ 2 trillion investment goals.
A bipartisan group of senators was due to meet Tuesday to discuss next steps on infrastructure. Republicans such as Bill Cassidy, Mitt Romney and Rob Portman are expected to attend, and the deciding Democratic votes of Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin.
The two parties remain far apart https://www…com/business/autos-transportation/republicans-vs-biden-whats-their-infrastructure-plans-2021-04-22 in one of the main policy goals Inside Biden, with discrepancies over how much to spend, how to pay for it, and even what constitutes infrastructure.
(Reporting by David Morgan, Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell, Written by Richard Cowan, Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)