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Biden, Capito abandon infrastructure talks

Infrastructure negotiations between President Biden and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) have officially broken down, and Biden now plans to turn his attention toward striking a deal with a separate, bipartisan group of senators, administration officials said Tuesday night.

What we're hearing: When Biden and Capito spoke by phone on Tuesday the call only lasted a few minutes, and it was clear that the two sides remain too far apart to find a compromise.


  • The two parties still hadn't agreed how to define what constitutes infrastructure, let alone set a price tag or way to pay for it.
  • “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.

Timing: The Biden administration made clear they saw this week was the deadline for real progress on a deal with Capito and other GOP senators.

  • Now he will focus on engaging the "G20" group of Democratic and Republican senators, led by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
  • That group has floated a larger, $900 billion infrastructure proposal focused on roads, bridges and other traditional projects.

The issue of how to pay for the package remains the major stumbling block.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that Democrats are working on a reconciliation bill as a backup plan in case talks fall through.

  • He said he plans to move forward with an infrastructure bill in the Senate in July, whether a deal between the two sides is reached or not.

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  • Clark, who took over the top job in March, said those House Democrats "had really helped push business's number one priority, which was the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, over the finish line."
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Driving the news: Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi sat down with "Axios on HBO" at IAEA headquarters in Vienna, ahead of Iran's June 18 presidential election and a June 24 extension on negotiations seeking to restore curtailed surveillance of Iranian nuclear sites and salvage the 2015 deal.

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U.N. ambassador Thomas-Greenfield sees tough Putin summit

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., told me on "Axios on HBO" that President Biden will be candid, frank — and tough — during this week's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Dems’ go-it-alone approach faces big hurdles as left’s frustrations spill over

If a bipartisan group of lawmakers fails to strike a deal on the infrastructure proposal it's negotiating with the White House, ramming through a package using the partisan reconciliation process isn't a guaranteed solution.

Why it matters: Getting 51 Democratic votes would be a long, uphill battle. And moderates within the party are balking at the cost of President Biden's spending — even as progressives openly lament that the "transformational" change they seek is slipping out of reach.

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