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Biden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure

Biden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure
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President BidenJoe BidenMilitary must better understand sexual assaults to combat them The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling MORE on Wednesday said he was "encouraged" about the prospects of an infrastructure deal after meeting with top congressional leaders, even as he acknowledged the two parties remain at odds on how to finance a package.

Biden told MSNBC's Lawrence O'DonnellLawrence O'DonnellBiden: McCarthy's support of Cheney ouster is 'above my paygrade' On The Money: Inflation jumps at fastest pace since 2008 | Biden 'encouraged' on bipartisan infrastructure deal Biden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure MORE that he did not get into how to pay for the bill with the top four leaders from Capitol Hill. Instead, they focused on what constitutes infrastructure amid talks on a potential compromise.

Speaking later to reporters, Biden said he "came away encouraged" from his meeting earlier in the day with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit Maria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack MORE (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHeatwaves don't lie: Telling the truth about climate change Schumer backing plan to add dental, vision and hearing coverage to Medicare Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyHillicon Valley: Cyber agency says SolarWinds hack could have been deterred | Civil rights groups urge lawmakers to crack down on Amazon's 'dangerous' worker surveillance | Manchin-led committee puts forth sprawling energy infrastructure proposal Chuck Todd reluctant to 'ban' election deniers from 'Meet the Press' GOP divided over bills targeting tech giants MORE (R-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats go down to the wire with Manchin Schumer unloads on GOP over elections bill: 'How despicable of a man is Donald Trump?' This week: Senate set for voting rights fight MORE (R-Ky.).

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"But I want to make it clear to you: I’m encouraged not just because of one solid meeting with the Republican leader in the House and with Sen. McConnell … I’ve been meeting with bipartisan leaders for a long time now," Biden said.

"So generically I’m encouraged that there's room to have a compromise on a bipartisan bill that’s solid and significant and a means by which to pay for it without dropping all of the burden on middle class and working class people," Biden added.

The president noted he's met with several lawmakers in both parties since unveiling his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan in March, which calls for investments in roads, bridges, broadband, railways, climate-friendly industries and long-term care workers. Biden hosted moderate Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSinema defends filibuster ahead of Senate voting rights showdown The Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin MORE (W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaSinema defends filibuster ahead of Senate voting rights showdown Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Progressive groups ramp up pressure on Feinstein MORE (Ariz.) at the White House earlier this week.

Biden has proposed paying for an infrastructure deal through an increase in the corporate tax rate. Republicans have balked at the idea, instead pushing for user fees, something Biden expressed reluctance toward on Wednesday when he said it would place a burden on middle class Americans.

The issue of how to pay for the eventual package remains one of the biggest roadblocks to getting an infrastructure deal done. Still, Biden has remained optimistic even as the White House says it wants to see progress by Memorial Day.

"I want to make it clear," Biden told MSNBC. "I want to get a bipartisan deal on as much as we can get a bipartisan deal on. And that means roads, bridges, broadband, all infrastructure."