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Biden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push
President Biden will hold a meeting next week with six Republican senators as he looks to pass his sprawling infrastructure plan through Congress.
A White House official confirmed that Biden will meet Thursday with GOP Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.).
"The president appreciates their engagement and the ongoing dialogue on this high priority, and is looking forward to speaking with the group," the official said.
That meeting will come a day after Biden huddles with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to discuss the same $2.25 trillion proposal.
"They will have a dialogue about policy areas of mutual agreement and identifying common ground on which they can work together and deliver results on the challenges facing American families," the White House official said.
"The president is eager to talk in person with the Congressional leaders about how they can partner on the goals of restoring trust in government, ensuring that government delivers for the American people, and keeping the nation safe and competitive in the world - especially as the nation continues to sacrifice to defeat the pandemic and we turn our economy around after the worst downturn since the Great Depression," they added.
Democrats and Republicans remain at loggerheads over how to pay for Biden's sweeping proposal, which would repair 20,000 miles of roads and 10,000 bridges, expand broadband access to rural and underserved communities, replace all of the nation's lead pipes and service lines to ensure clean water, invest in research and development and manufacturing, and expand access to home and community-based care.
The president is seeking to pay for the plan by hiking the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, which the White House says will pay for the investments over a 15-year period.
Republicans, meanwhile, are adamant that no taxes be raised to pay for the plan, but have expressed openness to working with Biden on a compromise.
The Senate GOP, led by Capito, has come back with a plan coming in at under $600 billion that would focus more on boosting traditional infrastructure issues such as bridges and roads as well as expanding broadband.
"Senate Republicans have a targeted and responsible infrastructure plan. If the President will work with us, infrastructure is something we can and should be able to do in a bipartisan way. What there isn't any appetite for in our conference is a tax increase on job creators," Wicker said in a statement to The Hill. "I look forward to hearing what the President has to say."
Biden and Capito spoke last week on infrastructure, with the White House saying the two "had a warm, friendly conversation and continued their dialogue about infrastructure and jobs, reiterating their willingness to negotiate."