Infrastructure News

Moderate GOP senators and Biden clash at start of infrastructure debate


A group of 10 Republican senators who met with President BidenJoe BidenIran espionage-linked ship attacked at sea Biden exceeds expectations on vaccines — so far Jill Biden to visit Alabama with actress Jennifer Garner MORE for his first official Oval Office visit on Feb. 1 said Wednesday that the Biden administration “roundly dismissed our effort” to reach a bipartisan compromise on a COVID-19 relief package. 

The 10 lawmakers issued a joint statement pushing back on Biden’s criticism earlier in the day that the group of mostly moderate Republicans “didn’t move an inch” from their proposal to spend $618 billion on the pandemic relief package Congress passed last month.

Democrats ultimately passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was largely based on Biden’s original proposal, without a single Republican vote in the Senate or House.

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerLake Superior State University first to offer cannabis chemistry scholarship Capitol Police officer killed in car attack will lie in honor in Rotunda From steel to fiber, libraries are American infrastructure MORE (D-N.Y.) used the budget reconciliation process to pass the bill through the Senate with a simple majority vote.

“The administration roundly dismissed our effort as wholly inadequate in order to justify its go-it-alone strategy,” the senators said in their statement.

“Fewer than 24 hours after our meeting in the Oval Office, the Senate Democratic Leader began the process for triggering reconciliation which precluded Republican participation allowed the package to pass without a single Republican vote,” they said.

The group of Republican senators, led by Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill’s Morning Report – Biden, McConnell agree on vaccines, clash over infrastructure 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Republicans don’t think Biden really wants to work with them MORE (Maine), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann Murkowski2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Haaland on public lands drilling: Taxpayers deserve ‘a return on their investment’ Republicans don’t think Biden really wants to work with them MORE (Alaska), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden touts March jobs gain as recovery accelerates Jayapal: Republicans ‘not actually interested in bipartisanship’ Republicans don’t think Biden really wants to work with them MORE (Utah), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHillicon Valley: Intel heads to resume threats hearing scrapped under Trump | New small business coalition to urge action on antitrust policy | Amazon backs corporate tax hike to pay for infrastructure Senators call for update on investigations into SolarWinds, Microsoft hacks Former Ohio health director won’t run for Senate MORE (Ohio) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoAmerica’s infrastructure: You get what you pay for Republicans don’t think Biden really wants to work with them House Freedom Caucus chair objects to infrastructure proposal MORE (W.Va.) issued the statement to rebut Biden’s claim that they weren’t willing to compromise.

“A Republican group came to see me, and they started off at $600 billion, and that was it,” Biden told reporters Wednesday when asked if he would fail to fulfill his promise of bringing bipartisanship to Washington if Republicans again vote in unison against his $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan.

The president said he was prepared to craft a bipartisan pandemic relief package but Republican lawmakers refused to give any ground.

“I would’ve been prepared to compromise, but they didn’t. They didn’t move an inch. Not an inch,” he said.

The GOP senators noted Wednesday that their $618 billion proposal “included the core COVID relief elements of the Biden administration’s plan,” such as providing $160 billion to support vaccines and testing.

They also pointed out that they offered to increase the size of the package to $650 billion to increase the size of proposed stimulus checks.

The clash between Biden and GOP senators bodes poorly for the prospect of his Build Back Better infrastructure plan picking up much bipartisan support.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer gets his game changer Progressives fear infrastructure’s climate plans won’t survive Senate Biden credits McConnell for urging Republicans to get vaccinated MORE (R-Ky.) has attacked the first tranche of Biden’s infrastructure agenda as a “Trojan horse” for tax increases and a litany of liberal priorities, predicting it won’t pick up Republican support in the Senate. 


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