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Biden tells lawmakers he's 'prepared to compromise' on infrastructure bill

By
Don Jacobson
President Joe Biden makes remarks during a meeting with a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers to discuss his $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan Monday in the Oval Office at the White House. Pool photo by Doug Mills/UPI
President Joe Biden makes remarks during a meeting with a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers to discuss his $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan Monday in the Oval Office at the White House. Pool photo by Doug Mills/UPI | License Photo

April 19 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden told a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House Monday he is "prepared to compromise" to win approval for his proposed $2.2 trillion infrastructure proposal.

Speaking in the Oval Office to a group of 10 House and Senate members with reporters looking on, Biden said he's willing to negotiate on key aspects of his massive package, including its costs.

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"As I indicated earlier, I am prepared to compromise, prepared to do what we can get together on," he said. "It's a big package, but there are a lot of needs."

The lawmakers scheduled to take part in Biden's second meeting with congressional leaders on the infrastructure bill all are former governors or mayors, including Sens. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., and Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla.

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Among the topics to be discussed, Biden said, are "what should be included" in the package and "how to pay for it."

"I've noticed everybody is for infrastructure, the question is, who's going to pay for it, and that's what we're going to try to work out today," he said.

Biden began negotiations on the deal last week when he met with eight lawmakers in the Oval Office.

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The administration has proposed raising the corporate tax rate from the 21% established by Republicans' 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act to 28% to help pay for the package -- a rate still lower than what it was between World War II and 2017.

The tax hike would fund the infrastructure plan within 15 years and would be combined with plans to discourage firms from listing tax havens as their address and offshoring profits.

Republicans have panned the proposal, opposing the corporate tax hikes and saying the bill is loaded with items that don't fit the traditional definition of "infrastructure," such as job training and care for elderly and disabled Americans.

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"It's called infrastructure, but inside the Trojan horse it's going to be more borrowed money, and massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on March 31.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Fox News Sunday he could support a plan backed by some GOP lawmakers focusing more narrowly on transportation and high-speed Internet access, costing around $800 billion.

"I think we could all agree to that, but I think that's the part we can agree on, so let's do it," he said.

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