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.