WASHINGTON — Facing opposition from Republicans and a few centrist Democrats to components of his $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, President Biden on Monday convened a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House, hoping to make progress towards a deal that may cross a bitterly divided Congress.

Sitting in the Oval Office with the group, Mr. Biden mentioned he was “prepared to negotiate as to the extent of the infrastructure project, as well as how we pay for it.”

The assembly was an effort by the White House to point out that it was prepared to no less than think about proposals to cut back or reshape the package deal and hearken to options to its personal plan to pay for it by raising taxes on corporations.

The president has repeatedly mentioned that it’s his choice to cross a bipartisan deal. But White House officers and different Democrats have additionally made clear that they’d be prepared, if needed to attain their priorities, to push by means of a invoice on a party-line vote over the objections of Republicans.

The group of lawmakers who visited the White House included 4 Democrats: Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington and Alex Padilla of California, and Representatives Donald M. Payne Jr. of New Jersey and David E. Price of North Carolina. Also in attendance have been 4 Republicans: Senators Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and Representatives Garret Graves of Louisiana and Don Young of Alaska.

Despite Republican opposition to a broad invoice, Mr. Biden repeatedly emphasised the have to look past merely repairing roads and bridges and cross a package deal that may enhance the productiveness of a 21st-century economic system, in keeping with these in attendance.

Discussing entry to water and broadband as needed infrastructure enhancements to maintain the United States aggressive, he mentioned, “I’m confident that everything is going to work out for us,” eliciting some laughter from the room.

The president made a robust case, Mr. Padilla mentioned, including, “This is really about our competitiveness as a nation in the future.”

The Republicans in the room expressed issues about Mr. Biden’s broader definition of infrastructure — which incorporates funds for highways and bridges but additionally measures like research and development and employee coaching — and questioned the president’s plans to pay for his proposals, Mr. Padilla mentioned. But they didn’t rule out future negotiations.

Mr. Padilla mentioned the Republicans appeared open to together with broadband funding in the package deal.

“I didn’t hear any hard noes,” he mentioned.

Mr. Price, the high Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees annual funding for transportation and housing, described the practically two-hour assembly as “a good, honest exchange of initial views.”

Mr. Price had raised the significance of addressing housing and transportation enhancements and mentioned the group mentioned how one can pay for such investments. Paying for infrastructure, he famous, has been “the bugaboo of this discussion for 10 years or more.”

The goal of the assembly was to not talk about the nice particulars of the plan, Mr. Price mentioned, however as an alternative to permit Mr. Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and different high White House officers to hearken to enter from Capitol Hill.

“He left no doubt that this was an extremely high priority for him, and he was open to discussion and alternative ideas,” Mr. Price mentioned. “But bottom line, he thinks we simply must do this.”

Mr. Wicker informed reporters on Capitol Hill that “it would be an almost impossible sell from the president to come to a bipartisan agreement that included the undoing” of components of the 2017 tax overhaul, which approved everlasting tax cuts for firms whereas offering momentary cuts for particular person taxpayers. Mr. Biden’s infrastructure plan would increase the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent whereas additionally looking for to boost extra income from worldwide operations of massive corporations.

But Mr. Wicker mentioned the president was engaged in the dialogue, together with key members of his employees.

“Whether we’ll be able to come to a bipartisan agreement that gets as expansive and as massive as he would like to, I don’t know,” he added.

But at the same time as a group of them agreed to go to the White House, some Republicans remained skeptical that the administration was partaking in good-faith negotiations, notably after efforts to decrease the scope and price ticket of Mr. Biden’s practically $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package have been rapidly rejected and the White House pushed by means of that laws with out a single Republican vote.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, mentioned on Monday that the president was “absolutely” prepared to barter not solely a funding mechanism for the invoice but additionally its dimension and scope. When requested whether or not Republicans must be skeptical of his want for bipartisan help, given his acknowledged willingness to cross the invoice by means of the budgetary strategy of reconciliation if he didn’t get it, Ms. Psaki pointed to his funding in the outreach.

“You don’t use the president’s time multiple times over, including bipartisan meetings we’ve already had, or the meeting today, if you do not want to authentically hear from the members attending about their ideas,” Ms. Psaki mentioned.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican chief, mentioned Mr. Biden and his allies had assembled a “motley assortment of the left’s priciest priorities” beneath the “supposed veil of infrastructure.”

Democrats, he mentioned, have been “embarking on an Orwellian campaign to convince everybody that any government policy whatsoever can be labeled infrastructure. Liberals just have to believe in it hard enough.”

The president has been solicitous of Republican enter, however his administration has additionally made clear that it doesn’t need negotiations to pull on. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority chief, is contemplating utilizing the fast-track budget reconciliation process for a second time this fiscal yr, probably permitting Democrats to cross Mr. Biden’s infrastructure plan or different coverage priorities with a easy majority by counting on Ms. Harris’s vote as president of the Senate to interrupt the 50-50 partisan break up in the chamber.

The assembly was Mr. Biden’s second gathering of lawmakers from each events to debate the infrastructure plan. Last month, he hosted members from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to debate the plan.



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