President Biden ended negotiations with a group of Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) over his infrastructure package Tuesday as the two sides failed to strike a deal after weeks of talks. Now, the president is shifting his focus to a separate group of Democrats and Republicans in hopes of reaching agreement, according to The Washington Post. The issue is of interest to readers as all sides try to hammer out a deal that includes billions of dollars for broadband deployment, Inside Towers reported.
The failure to reach a deal with Capito could increase pressure on Biden to try to forge ahead with only Democrats as he did during the push for a stimulus law earlier this year.
The White House and Capito proved unable to bridge their differences, and they remained far apart on the scope of the package and whether to make changes to tax law to pay for it. Now, Biden will attempt to negotiate with a group of Democrats and different Republicans at the same time.
One option Senate Democrats explored Tuesday is the possibility of breaking the infrastructure package in two. They could try to assemble one bill with Republicans and then try to pass a separate measure with only Democratic support to meet their objectives. Both strategies, though, could prove difficult to execute, according to the account.
Biden shifted gears quickly. He spoke Tuesday afternoon with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who has been part of a bipartisan effort that met Tuesday evening, as well as Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said the bipartisan group of Senators made “good progress” during Tuesday’s meeting.
Romney expects the group will put forward a public proposal in the coming weeks. The new bipartisan talks are expected to center on a package that would be more narrowly focused than what Biden originally proposed, but one of the biggest hurdles will be how to finance it.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) now needs to decide how to move forward. Schumer said Democrats are proceeding on two paths.
On one track are newly emerging conversations between Biden and the bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Sinema and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who are “trying to put something together that might be close to what the president needs.” It’s unclear what size that package might be, reported The Post.
At the same time, Schumer said Democrats are working on a package that might only need support from Democrats, acknowledging that their party is unlikely to accomplish everything they hope in a bill crafted alongside the GOP.
Biden left the country Wednesday for his first international trip as U.S. President. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that Biden designated members of his Cabinet and senior White House staff to continue conversations. “The President is committed to moving his economic legislation through Congress this summer, and is pursuing multiple paths to get this done,” Psaki stated.