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President Joe Biden ended a weeks-long infrastructure negotiation with a group of Republican senators on Tuesday because their offer was too small. But Biden is still talking to some Republican lawmakers about another version of a bipartisan deal.
Now progressive organizations are joining many Democratic lawmakers in calling for Biden to leave the GOP out of the talks altogether.
Led by Invest in America Action, Care Can’t Wait, and Real Recovery Now, 89 progressive advocacy groups wrote a letter to Congress and the Biden administration urging them to use reconciliation to pass an infrastructure bill, meaning passing a bill without any Republican votes. They wrote that Republicans have failed to deliver a serious counter-offer “that meets the urgency of the moment,” like addressing the climate crisis, and “there is simply too much at stake to allow these bad faith actors to have the final word.”
“President Biden’s long efforts to find a bipartisan solution on infrastructure are admirable, but by continuing to double down on their unreasonable demands, Republicans have proven they have no interest in a serious negotiation,” the letter said. “They’ve shown that their only interest is delay and sabotage as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell articulated when he said that 100% of their focus was on stopping the Biden agenda.”
The letter, also signed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the League of Conservation Voters, wrote that the GOP proposal’s failure to support raising taxes on corporations would shift the burden onto middle-class families.
A Republican group, led by West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, has been negotiating with Biden for nearly six weeks on what started as their $568 billion counter-proposal, and although they offered to come up to almost $1 trillion, the president ended his negotiations with them on Tuesday for failing to resolve major differences.
“While I appreciate President Biden’s willingness to devote so much time and effort to these negotiations, he ultimately chose not to accept the very robust and targeted infrastructure package, and instead, end our discussions,” Capito said in a statement.
Also on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats were preparing to use reconciliation to pass an infrastructure bill.
“We all know as a caucus we will not be able to do all the things that the country needs in a totally bipartisan way,” Schumer said at a weekly news conference. “So at the same time, we are pursuing the pursuit of reconciliation.”
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of Senators, including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, is forming to come up with yet another infrastructure proposal, and Biden showed he is still committed to bipartisanship on Tuesday by calling Cassidy to talk infrastructure.
.@POTUS just called to discuss infrastructure. I brought up flood resiliency and energy provisions that would benefit Louisiana as well as the rest of our nation. Strongly support @SenCapito’s efforts. Any infrastructure package should and must be bipartisan.
— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (@SenBillCassidy) June 8, 2021
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Source:: Business Insider