Monday, 14 June, 2021

Biden delivers remarks on infrastructure plan in Cleveland

Republican senators in the United States outlined a $928bn infrastructure proposal Thursday a counteroffer to President Joe Biden's more sweeping plan as the two sides struggle to negotiate a bipartisan compromise and remain far apart on how to pay WATCH: Biden delivers remarks on infrastructure plan in Cleveland
Cecil Davis | 28 May, 2021, 17:51

President Joe Biden on Thursday chided Republican lawmakers who voted against his $1.9 trillion economic stimulus and COVID-19 relief bill before lauding its benefits in their political districts.

The Press Secretary, however, noted that the White House remains concerned that the plan still provides no substantial new funds to fix veterans' hospitals, build modern rail systems, repair transit systems, remove risky lead pipes, boost clean energy economy, among other things. Meanwhile the White House last week brought its number down from $2.25 trillion to $1.7 trillion.

Republicans boosted their original $568 proposal substantially to almost $1 trillion, the minimum number Biden has reportedly said he would accept. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said it was "encouraging" that Republicans "substantially increased the funding level" to almost $1 trillion and that they made "several constructive additions" on roads, bridges and rails. "I told her we'd have to finish this very soon", he said, adding that he will meet with her and other Republicans next week.

But a persistent point of contention is how to pay for the plan.

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Psaki said the president looks forward to getting additional details from Republicans, and she pledged the White House would work with members of the House and Senate next week. "They like infrastructure, all the states like infrastructure". The president has urged the GOP to put at least $1 trillion into an infrastructure package. However, GOP lawmakers stand strong in their decision to keep Biden from raising corporate taxes.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), did not react warmly to the GOP plan, saying it is not "a serious counteroffer". The GOP has proposed repurposing unused Covid funds. "But if you're going to try to take credit for what you've done, don't get in the way of what we still need to do", he said.

The counteroffer, Capito says, allocates funding for physical infrastructure like roads and bridges, arguing that so-called "human infrastructure" in the White House's deal - such as elder care and child care - is not what the American people want.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican leading the talks, said Thursday the sides are "inching closer" in negotiations ahead of Memorial Day, the date by which the White House wanted to see progress in bipartisan negotiations.