At the same time, with anxiety mounting as time goes on, Democrats are laying the groundwork to adopt all or part of the ambitious package on their own. Biden spoke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday about starting the budget resolution process for Senate votes in July, the House reported. White.

“The president has pledged to pass his economic legislation through Congress this summer and is pursuing several avenues to get there,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The White House’s break with GOP senators comes after weeks of protracted infrastructure talks between the president and Capito, with both sides failing to bridge the gap over the scope of infrastructure investments from Biden and how to pay them.

Republican senators proposed a $ 928 billion proposal, which included about $ 330 billion in new spending – but not as much as Biden’s $ 1.7 trillion investment proposal for rebuilding roads, bridges, highways and other infrastructure in the country, including hospitals and veterans’ care centers.

Biden proposed raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, a failure for Republicans, and rejected GOP senators’ suggestion to use unspent COVID-19 aid money to finance new infrastructure spending.

In a statement, Capito said she was disappointed Biden had ended the talks, but also expressed interest in the bipartisan work underway.

“While I appreciate President Biden’s willingness to devote so much time and effort to these negotiations, he ultimately chose not to accept the very robust and focused infrastructure package and to end our talks,” she declared. “However, that does not mean that bipartisanship is not achievable.”

As Biden seeks a compromise deal, he began reaching out to other senators, including Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and two key centrist Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. , whose votes will be crucial in the equally divided Senate.

Senators receiving phone calls from Biden were among the group of 10 reunited with Sinema and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio on Tuesday night in Portman’s office for what has been described as a productive meeting, the familiar person said. with the session.

Portman and Sinema have been engaged for months with Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, over a major infrastructure proposal that is expected to include proposed ways to pay for it.

The group of senators has expanded in recent weeks to include others from both parties. Romney described it as a group “on the back burner,” in case the administration’s talks with GOP senators fail.

Psaki said the president urged senators in his conversations to continue their work “to develop a bipartisan proposal that he hopes will be more suited to the country’s urgent infrastructure needs.” Biden enlisted Cabinet and White House advisers to meet with the senators in person.

Prior to Biden’s announcement, the White House had also spoken to other lawmakers, including the House.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, DN.J., and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., The co-chairs of the bipartisan Problem Solver Caucus, spoke Monday evening with Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, about bipartisanship. efforts to reach an agreement on infrastructure, according to an assistant who requested anonymity to discuss the private conversations.

The Problem Solvers group has agreed to $ 761.8 billion in new spending over eight years as part of a $ 1.2 trillion plan, according to a draft obtained Tuesday night by the Associated Press. The one-page draft does not include any proposed way to pay for the package.

Gottheimer is also working with Cassidy and Sinema from the Senators’ group, the aide said.

With the House tightly divided and the Senate 50-50, the White House faces political challenges pushing its priorities through Congress with Democratic votes alone. Biden’s party holds a slight majority in the Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris can break the tie.

The special budget rules could offer Biden an alternate path, especially in the Senate, as they allow legislation to be approved with a threshold of 51 votes, rather than the 60 votes typically needed to move a bill past it. obstruction – in this case, led by Republicans against the Biden package.

Democrats are suspiciously watching time go by and anxiety mounts towards a deal, with many lawmakers fearful of breaking their election promises to voters who have put the party in charge of Congress and the White House.

During a private discussion of Democratic senators at lunch on Tuesday, views differed on whether to continue speaking with Republicans or pursue an approach that would allow them to pass a bill on their own, through the budget reconciliation process.

Schumer told reporters afterwards that Democrats were pursuing “a two-track approach.”

Sinema’s bipartisan talks with other senators are ongoing, Schumer said, as the budget committee prepares legislation that would allow passage through the reconciliation process.

“It may well be that part of the bill passed is bipartisan and part is in favor of reconciliation,” he said. “But we are not going to sacrifice greatness and daring.”

The president is expected to engage with lawmakers as he embarks on his first overseas trip this week for an economic summit of the Group of Seven industrialized countries in Europe.



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