Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican
By Brett Samuels - 06/08/21 04:48 PM EDT
President Biden on Tuesday cut off prolonged infrastructure negotiations with a GOP group led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and will instead move forward on discussions with a bipartisan group of senators.
The White House announced Biden’s move after the president and Capito spoke Tuesday afternoon. The two remained far apart on a deal during that discussion despite weeks of talks. The White House as a result is shifting to talks with a bipartisan group that is crafting its own proposal, an administration official confirmed.
Members of the bipartisan group include Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and other Senate moderates, such as Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). The senators are aiming to release a proposal by the end of the week.
The president began speaking with members of the bipartisan coalition on Tuesday, and he will engage with those lawmakers while in Europe for the next week. Cabinet officials such as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will also take a leading role, an administration official said.
The end of talks between Biden and Capito marks a significant shift in the months-long effort from the White House to secure Republican buy-in on an infrastructure package. Some progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have expressed skepticism the administration would ever win over the 10 GOP votes needed in the Senate to overcome the filibuster.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden spoke with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday about the potential for using the budget reconciliation process to pass parts of Biden's jobs plan next month. Reconciliation would likely require dropping aspects of Biden’s proposal due to parliamentary rules, but it would only require a simple majority to pass both chambers of Congress.