© Reuters. US President Biden held the first Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington
By David Morgan and Jarrett Renshaw
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden sought to show a great deal of interest in cooperating with Republicans in Congress on Monday, with a bipartisan meeting at the White House when the Legislators are about to grapple with his $ 2.3 trillion proposition to improve US infrastructure.
The Democratic president appears to be losing political capital with 10 Senate Republicans, who have signaled an openness to work with Democrats, according to aides and observers. Those Republicans included Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, whose backing could give him the votes to pass bipartisan legislation.
Biden’s party controlled the House and Senate narrowly, meaning he could not afford to lose the Democratic vote. That encouraged moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin, who had a greater influence over his legislative priorities.
Biden met for an hour and 40 minutes on Monday with four Republican members taking leadership roles on relevant committees in the House and Senate. But then, they showed no signs of loan support over his extensive infrastructure proposal or the corporate tax increase he would use to pay for it.
Senate Trade Committee Chairman Roger Wicker told reporters after the meeting: “There are clearly parts of this program that are not in the beginning of the Republican program. He said he told Biden it would be “almost impossible” for Biden to get a bipartisan deal on a corporate tax increase.
Another Republican attendee, Sen. Deb Fischer, said she told the president she hoped he would consider a smaller package of “traditional infrastructure” such as roads and bridges. , water and pipes.
Biden stressed the need for Congress to bring the country to global success. But he also expressed openness in package splitting, according to a Democratic aide, who added that there is bipartisan support for the broadband included as part of the package.
The meeting led to some confusion about Biden’s views on taxes, after the press reported that US Democratic Representative Donald Payne said the president expressed openness in raising gasoline taxes. A White House official later said Biden had said he was not in favor of a gas tax increase to fund his proposal as it would not raise much money.
Biden, who has been in the Senate for 36 years and has repeatedly declared a desire to work with Republicans, is scheduled to hold subsequent meetings with the participation of Communist Party lawmakers. tie, according to Wicker.
He said that Biden was fully involved in the meeting, which according to him took place without any sense of contention. Biden asked Republicans at the meeting to come see him with a “serious” objection, a Democratic aide with knowledge of the meeting said.
But Biden can expect a skeptical reception from 10 Senate Republicans, who met with the president about his COVID-19 relief law in February, only to let them call for a narrowing Bidding package was rejected. The Democrats then used a special legislative tool to pass the $ 1.9 trillion bill without Republican backing.
The White House official said the COVID-19 bill was a response to a raging national crisis and that negotiations over infrastructure would be more deliberate.
Republicans oppose Biden’s infrastructure provisions to address climate change and human services compared to traditional infrastructure projects, as well as proposing an increase in corporate taxation. downed by the 2017 tax restructuring of former President Donald Trump.
Instead, Republicans are interlinking around an infrastructure approach focused on improving roads, bridges, and broadband access that will be financed through usage fees and tax incentives.
Without Republican support, Democrats would have to rely on a congressional process called mediation that allows the 100-member Senate to pass certain laws with a simple majority instead of 60. votes are required to pass most bills.