GOP to Offer Biden Nearly $1 Trillion for Infrastructure Plan Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL via Getty Images)
Erik Wasson Tuesday, 25 May 2021 01:48 PM
A group of Senate Republicans plans to present their latest offer to the White House on a major new infrastructure package on Thursday, with one member saying it will weigh in at almost $1 trillion.
“This is going to be a very good offer,” Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi told reporters Tuesday. The latest counter will be “close” to $1 trillion, spread over eight years, he said.
Democratic lawmakers have warned that time is running short to determine whether a bipartisan deal on infrastructure is possible, with progressives already calling for a go-it-alone approach using fast-track budget procedures. A new offer around $1 trillion would still leave the two sides many hundreds of billions of dollars apart.
If President Joe Biden decides on a response, rather than administration staff, Wicker predicted he would take the deal. His comments underscored GOP sentiment that the White House’s $1.7 trillion counter-offer to Republicans on Friday failed to reflect Biden’s own, previous indications of his position. Biden had hosted the GOP group May 13.
West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the lead Republican negotiator, said the group may request a meeting with Biden again since he seemed more open to a deal, and had indicated he could accept a $1 trillion bill.
“We were pretty universal on this, I mean there was no dispute with what he said to us in the room that day — that’s why I think, when we left there, we were pretty optimistic that this is a doable” she said.
Wicker said the new GOP offer will be able to resolve the talks before Memorial Day — May 31 — in line with Biden’s goals.
On Friday, Biden reduced his proposal by more than $500 billion from an initial $2.25 trillion by lowering spending on roads, bridges and broadband and saying he is willing to make investments in the manufacturing sector in separate bills — like the China-focused legislation on the Senate floor this week.
The two sides have been defining the size of the package differently, with Republicans including money already expected to be in the spending pipeline. The GOP senators characterized their initial offer as $568 billion.