President Biden and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., talked Friday in their effort to forge a bipartisan deal on infrastructure spending and they’ve agreed to reconvene on Monday, the senator’s office said.
Biden and Capito, the lead Senate GOP negotiator, discussed their competing offers on how to fund rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges and more and plan to keep the conversation going after the weekend.“This afternoon, Senator Capito participated in a phone conversation with President Biden where they continued negotiating a bipartisan infrastructure package,” Capito’s office said in a statement on Friday. “During the call, the two discussed the Republican infrastructure framework and the Biden administration’s proposal. Senator Capito and President Biden agreed to connect again on Monday.”
Biden and Capito already had a “constructive” Oval Office meeting Wednesday, which prompted the Friday afternoon follow-up phone call. Heading into this week, their positions on total new spending were still hundreds of billions of dollars apart.
Biden had previously proposed paying for the new infrastructure spending by raising corporate tax rates from 21% to 28%, which was a red line for Republicans. But he’s since abandoned those plans and proposed instead a 15% minimum tax for corporations paying very little.
Biden also wanted stepped-up IRS enforcement of current tax laws to bring in more revenue and using $75 billion in repurposed COVID funding. In return, Biden wanted $1 trillion in new spending from Republicans. The GOP’s prior offer was only about $250 billion in new spending and Republicans instead wanted to reprogram about $700 billion in current coronavirus funds.
Capito’s office didn’t provide details on whether Republicans were willing to accept any of Biden’s suggestions, but the fact they agreed to talk again Monday suggests some belief in progress.
Biden has signaled he wants a bipartisan compromise on infrastructure, especially since he campaigned on his ability to work with Republicans and draw upon his decades of relationships in the Senate. But the Biden administration has also indicated it won’t wait indefinitely for Republicans to agree before trying to go it alone through a budget process that would only require Democratic support.
Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.