Schumer Says White House Talks with GOP on Infrastructure Hit ‘a Brick Wall’

Schumer Says White House Talks with GOP on Infrastructure Hit 'a Brick Wall' Schumer Says White House Talks with GOP on Infrastructure Hit 'a Brick Wall' (Getty Images)

By Theodore Bunker | Tuesday, 08 June 2021 05:11 PM

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters on Tuesday that the White House’s negotiations with Senate Republicans “seem to be running into a brick wall,” with no sign of an agreement to come.

Schumer said that discussions between the Senate GOP and moderate Democrats could end up being more successful than the White House’s talks with Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia.

“We’re pursuing a two-path proposal. On the one hand there are bipartisan negotiations and those are continuing. The first were between President Biden and Sen. Capito, with just Republicans, those seem to be running into a brick wall,” Schumer said.

“But a bipartisan group led by Sens. [Kyrsten] Sinema [D-Ariz.] and I think Sen. [Rob] Portman [R-Ohio] is the lead Republican, are trying to put something together that might be closer to what the president needs,” he added.

“That’s good but that’s not going to be the only answer. We all know as a caucus we will not be able to do all the things that the country needs in a bipartisan way. And so at the same time we are pursuing the pursuit of reconciliation, and that is going on at the same time,” Schumer said.

He noted that some of the infrastructure package could get combined into a bipartisan deal that could secure the necessary 60 votes and the remaining bits of legislation could be passed through reconciliation.

“It may well be that part of the bill that will pass will be bipartisan and part of it will be through reconciliation but we’re not going to sacrifice the bigness and boldness in this bill. We’ll just pursue two paths and at some point they will join,” the senator added.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently said in a statement that a recent meeting between President Joe Biden and Capito failed to reach an agreement, as Republicans offered a deal included far less than Democrats are willing to agree to.

“The President expressed his gratitude for her effort and goodwill, but also indicated that the current offer did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs,” Psaki said.

Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who along with Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is also engaged in the talks between Sinema and Portman, said that they hope to release a proposal before the week’s end.

“There’s going to be some conversations today,” Tester said on Tuesday. “I think there’s a possibility we can get this thing done, in a bipartisan way. I think people are all saying the same thing, we’re just saying it at different times.”

When asked about when the group will announce a maximum spending amount, Tester said, “I hope it’s by the end of this week.”

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