The top Republicans in the House and Senate told reporters after meeting with President Biden at the White House that "there is a bipartisan desire to get an outcome" on an infrastructure package, but stressed that revisiting the 2017 tax cuts is a "red line."
Why it matters: Wednesday marked the first time that Biden has hosted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at the White House.
- The Biden administration has expressed interest in striking a bipartisan deal on infrastructure, but the two sides remain far apart.
- Biden has proposed a $2 trillion package paid for with a corporate tax increase, while some Republican senators have said they'd be willing to spend up to $800 billion.
The state of play: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both said that the first step in striking a deal with Democrats would be to come to an agreement on the definition of "infrastructure."
- Republicans have argued for narrowing the bill to traditional infrastructure projects like roads and bridges. Biden's package includes spending on progressive priorities like workforce development, quality housing and clean-energy investments.
- McConnell said he will involve the Senate committees in crafting the package, and that he doesn't favor "top-down dictation as to what this package looks like, but rather a consultative process in which everybody in my conference is involved."
The big picture: McCarthy said he spoke to Biden about inflation concerns, following a reading from the Consumer Price Index on Wednesday that showed prices rose 4.2% in April over last year.
- The House Republican leader said he expressed concerns to Biden about "incentivizing people not to work," as well as the inflow of migrants at the Southern border.
- "Those are places we can work together and should work together to try to solve what is happening there," McCarthy said.