Republicans in US Senate to meet to discuss White House infrastructure

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) asks questions during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to consider the FY2022 budget request for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the building from the Dirksen Senate office in Washington, USA on May 19, 2021. Greg Nash / Pool via REUTERS

Republicans in the US Senate are due to meet on Tuesday to determine next steps in bipartisan infrastructure negotiations following White House offer to reduce President Joe Biden’s $ 2.25 trillion proposal to 1.7 trillion dollars.

One of the lawmakers, Senate Republican Conference Speaker John Barrasso, said on Monday that the group of six lawmakers would hold a meeting Tuesday morning, as an unofficial end-May deadline nears the House Blanche to show the progress of the talks.

West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who is leading the Republican infrastructure effort, said her negotiating team will discuss possible next steps, but gave no details on options.

“I’m not ready to quit, I can tell you that,” Capito told reporters.

Senator Roy Blunt, another member of the Capito team, spoke favorably about making a new offer to the Biden administration. “I think there would be merit in that,” Blunt, of Missouri, told reporters.

The parties seem distant from each other and struggle to agree on a basic definition of infrastructure. If the talks stall, Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress may decide to move forward without the Republicans.

Biden’s broad proposal includes traditional infrastructure projects on roads and bridges, but also seeks to redefine the direction of the U.S. economy with an additional focus on tackling climate change and strengthening social programs.

Republicans want an approach limited to roads, bridges, airports, waterways and broadband access. They unveiled an initial proposal costing $ 568 billion.

Republicans have expressed disappointment at the slimmer $ 1.7 trillion offer unveiled by the White House last week. They noted that it still contained provisions on social spending and tax hikes on American businesses which they rejected.

Other members of the Republican infrastructure team include Senators Roger Wicker, Mike Crapo and Pat Toomey.

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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