Biden will KEEP pushing Republicans on the $1.7 trillion infrastructure deal because China invests 10 times more than the US, says Energy Secretary Granholm ahead of make-or-break White House meeting
- President Joe Biden holds one-on-one meeting in Oval Office Wednesday with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the top GOP negotiator on infrastructure
- Bipartisan talks continue but pressure is on ahead of June 7 deadline
- Administration officials putting pressure on Republicans to concede
- ‘There clearly needs to be some additional movement on the part of the Republicans,’ Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told CNN
- She also said US falling behind China on investing in infrastructure
With the clock ticking toward a deadline for an infrastructure deal, President Joe Biden will meet with the top GOP negotiator on Wednesday as the two sides move further apart on the issue.
Biden will sit down with Senator Shelley Moore Capito in a rare one-on-one Oval Office meeting as bipartisan negotiations continue. The White House blew past its initial Memorial Day deadline for a deal. The new benchmark is now June. 7.
But the administration is putting pressure on Republicans to concede some of their demands, including keeping corporate tax cuts put in place by President Donald Trump.
‘I think that there clearly needs to be some additional movement on the part of the Republicans and I think there can be,’ Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told CNN on Wednesday morning.
President Joe Biden holds one-on-one meeting in Oval Office Wednesday with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the top GOP negotiator on infrastructure
The two sides remain far apart on two critical components: its overall cost – Biden is at $1.7 trillion while the GOP proposal comes in at $928 billion – and on how to pay for it – Biden wants to raise the corporate tax that was slashed as part of Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act while Republicans want to use user fees, which Democrats say is not an option.
Granholm argued Biden was trying to fix a ‘skewed’ tax system put in place under Trump’s cuts and said the Republicans’ user fee proposal was ‘essentially a gas tax and the president has ruled that out.’
‘There are other ways of skinning the cat,’ she added.
And she pointed out the United States if failing behind on a global scale when it comes to infrastructure.
‘We cannot just sit and negotiate forever. We have to get to an end,’ she said. ‘China invests 10X as much in infrastructure that the United States does. That’s just not tenable for us if we want to lead.’
Other White House officials have made it clear it’s make or break time for talks.
White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday that President Biden is ‘appreciative and heartened by the good faith effort that we´ve seen from Republican senators but as the president said last week we do need to finish these negotiations soon.’
And Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on Friday that Democrats would write their own infrastructure legislation – without GOP input – when lawmakers return to Washington next week after their Memorial Day recess.
Democrats hold slim majorities in the House and Senate.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told CNN that Republicans need to make some concessions on infrastructure and expressed concern China invests more than US
Capito, a Republican from West Virginia who has taken the lead on the issue, said she is hopeful the two sides can reach agreement.
‘I think we can get to real compromise, absolutely, because we’re both still in the game,’ she said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ ‘I think the president told me himself that let´s get this done.’
And Biden, who has a reputation for working across the aisle, is said to want to make a deal.
But the clock is ticking as the administration eyes a June 9 committee hearing in the House that will set the tone for infrastructure legislation in that chamber.
And, without GOP support, Biden will have to use his political muscle to keep his Democrats in the line. The slim majorities mean he can’t afford to lose many votes in his party.
After the meeting, Biden will head to Rehoboth Beach – where the Biden family owns a large beach home – with plans to return on Friday. First lady Jill Biden’s 70th birthday is on Thursday.