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Buttigieg: 'Still lots of daylight' between GOP, White House on infrastructure

Buttigieg: 'Still lots of daylight' between GOP, White House on infrastructure
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Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegHigh-speed rail getting last minute push in Congress Buttigieg: Bipartisan deal on infrastructure 'strongly preferred' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden ends infrastructure talks with key Republican | Colonial Pipeline CEO grilled over ransomware attack | Texas gov signs bills to improve power grid after winter storm MORE on Sunday said there is “lots of daylight” between the White House and Senate Republicans, as the two parties continue to negotiate on an infrastructure package.

“There are a lot of conversations going on among a lot of members of the Senate and over on the House side. On Wednesday there's going to be a markup for a key element of infrastructure policy. So lots going on right now, but still lots of daylight, honestly, between us and our Republican friends,” Buttigieg told host John Dickerson on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The White House and Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 COVID-19 long-haulers press Congress for paid family leave Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office MORE (R-W.Va.), have traded a number of proposals on infrastructure in recent weeks in an effort to reach a bipartisan agreement.

Capito raised the GOP’s current offer by $50 billion last week, after meeting one-on-one with President BidenJoe BidenObama: Ensuring democracy 'continues to work effectively' keeps me 'up at night' New Jersey landlords prohibited from asking potential tenants about criminal records Overnight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE on Wednesday.

Buttigieg, however, said on Sunday that the latest offer “really did not meet the president's objectives in terms of what we need to do for a generational investment.”

Additionally, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Joe Rogan slams CNN's Stelter: 'Your show is f---ing terrible' MORE said last week that while Biden "expressed his gratitude for her effort and goodwill," he also "indicated that the current offer did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs.” 

Senate Republicans unveiled a $928 billion infrastructure proposal last month. The offer, while substantially more than the caucus’s initial $568 billion proposal introduced in April, fell far short of the $1.7 trillion counteroffer White House officials made last week.

When asked if Republicans have “all the leverage” in the negotiations, Buttigieg sounded a different note on CBS, zeroing in on support among the American people for an infrastructure deal.

“We think there is a very strong wind at our back,” Buttigieg said.

He specifically claimed that the American people support investments in roads and bridges and “care infrastructure.” He also said the general public agrees that the package should be paid for “by ensuring that corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share,” while touting support among Republicans.

“We've seen a lot of Republicans, certainly around the country but also a lot of Republicans in office, state their interest in doing something real on infrastructure. We just got to see if we can actually get it into enough of an overlapping consensus that we can get to build on together because the President strongly prefers a bipartisan approach,” Buttigieg said.