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Democrats' plan for infrastructure to gain clarity as lawmakers return to D.C.

Much of the American Jobs Plan includes hundreds of billions of dollars to repair critical U.S. infrastructure like bridges, roadways and other transportation elements. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch
Much of the American Jobs Plan includes hundreds of billions of dollars to repair critical U.S. infrastructure like bridges, roadways and other transportation elements. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

June 7 (UPI) -- Monday is the deadline President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats had given Republicans to be part of the large U.S. infrastructure reform proposal, the American Jobs Plan, or risk being left behind.

As lawmakers return to Capitol Hill on Monday, they're expected to signal whether Democrats will try to go it alone with the infrastructure plan or find bipartisan agreement with a number of key Republicans.

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Biden's proposal calls for spending $1 trillion on infrastructure like roads, bridges and other transportation items that are in need of repair. Republicans' last counteroffer was for $928 billion in spending.

Biden and Republican chief Senate negotiator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia are scheduled to talk again Monday to see if a compromise is possible. The pair met last Wednesday on the same issue.

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Capito is also expected to brief a gathering of about 20 centrist-minded senators later this week about odds on a deal.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said last week that "clear direction" had to be set on infrastructure by Monday, but the White House walked back those expectations at the end of last week with Biden's counterproposal. His first plan proposed spending nearly $2 trillion on infrastructure.

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Part of the disagreement among Republicans and Democrats is how the plan would be paid for. Biden has proposed a minimum corporate tax rate of 15% and greater Internal Revenue Service funding as ways to pay. That idea is a few steps off his earlier idea, which was to aggressively roll back the 2017 tax overhaul passed by Congress under former President Donald Trump.

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Biden originally wanted to increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, which Republicans quickly denounced as a nonstarter. Officials say increasing the international minimum from 10.5% to 21% would raise an additional $1.2 trillion.

Some Democrats have flinched at Biden's latest tax proposal, believing it to be insufficient, and prefer to pass the bill through a process called budget reconciliation -- which allows Democrats to pass the plan with a simple majority. The Senate parliamentarian, however, ruled last week that Democrats could use budget reconciliation only one more time this year to pass legislation.

Democrats used budget reconciliation to pass the American Rescue Plan in March.

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