Justin Bullock, FISM News
Congressional Republicans have proposed a counteroffer to President Biden regarding his hopes for a sweeping infrastructure bill to become law. The Republican proposal comes at a price tag of almost $1 trillion, approximately $700 billion less than the President’s compromise proposal on Friday. FISM News reported on the compromise from the White House on Saturday.
The Republican proposal is much less than President Biden and congressional Democrats had hoped for, but it is an encouraging sign that Republicans are willing to negotiate at all. The Republican proposal was developed and presented by six Republicans led by West Virginia Senator, Shelley Moore Capito. This week President Biden and Senator Capito had a phone call about the negotiations. Senator Capito said this about her conversation with President Biden, “He didn’t make any commitment as to the substance, but he wants to continue working. Our teams are getting together… I got clear direction from him, so that’s good. Keep moving forward.”
While President Biden’s initial bill and compromise proposal had involved funding via an increased tax on people making more than $400,000.00 per year, the Republican counteroffer primarily provides for funding by re-routing some of the funds from the COVID-19 relief bill passed in March. Democrats have expressed concerns that such a plan would harm those in need because of the impact of the pandemic. Republicans have expressed willingness to negotiate further on how any potential infrastructure bill would be paid for, but have maintained a hostility to raising taxes and spending more than is necessary.
In addition, a different, bi-partisan group of senators is developing another proposal as a back-up plan of sorts. This group includes senators Mitt Romney from Utah and Joe Manchin from West Virginia. These senators have indicated that they will only release their plan if current negotiations completely break down. President Biden has put a May 31, 2021 deadline on finalizing an infrastructure bill so much more discussion and debate can be expected over the next few days.