Psaki: Biden ‘Authentically’ Wants GOP Input on Infrastructure

Psaki: Biden 'Authentically' Wants GOP Input on Infrastructure (C-SPAN)

By Eric Mack | Monday, 12 April 2021 02:43 PM

Admitting President Joe Biden's administration might not be the "best messengers" for its spending programs, the White House is making a concerted effort to reach out to conservatives and red states for input on a massive infrastructure plan currently priced at $2.7 trillion, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

"You don't use the president of the United States' time multiple times over, including 2 bipartisan infrastructure meetings he has already had, or the meeting [Monday], if he did not want to authentically hear from the members attending about their ideas, about how to move forward this package in a bipartisan manner," Psaki told reporters at Monday's daily press briefing.

Psaki's comments come as the White House released a fact sheet Monday morning, stressing red states and rural areas that stand to benefit from the infrastructure proposal.

President Biden is willing to negotiate on total dollars, priorities, and pay-fors with Republicans, including the proposal to increase the corporate tax rate to 28%, which has publicly received resistance among fiscal conservatives.

"He's proposed a way to pay for it, which is what he thinks is the reasonable thing to do, and he hopes they will come to the table with ideas," Psaki said.

"It's all open to negotiation," she added. "But I will say, having corporations pay more, pay their fair share, raising the rate that is still lower than it has been – aside from a few years since World War II – the president feels is an entirely reasonable, appropriate, effective way to pay for this package."

Proposals that include "user fees" for Americans using roads, bridges, and transportation initiatives does not have President Biden's backing.

"The president doesn't feel that we should pay for this package on the backs of the American people, but he's certainly eager to hear ideas from Democrats and Republicans on alternatives."

Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has balked at raising the corporate tax rate to 28%, but has suggested 25% might be an acceptable compromise. Manchin would be a must-have vote with Democrats and independents in the Senate that is split 50-50 with Republicans.

"We're certainly encouraged to hear that Sen. Manchin is open to raising the corporate tax rate as a means of potentially paying for an historic investment in our nation's infrastructure, and most importantly to creating jobs."

Biden's focus is first on pitching the importance of U.S. infrastructure spending, but the pay-fors will be a part of the open discussion in Washington, Psaki said.

"There are disagreements on how to pay for it," she said. "We're happy to have a discussion about that."

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