For the first time his presidency Biden has invited both Republican and Democrat leaders of Congress to the White House. Biden hosted Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer to seek support for his planned infrastructure program. The Republicans, interviewed after the meeting, did not sound particularly supportive. Pelosi claimed to be optimistic about the possibility of bipartisan agreement for an infrastructure plan.
Biden meets leading Republicans
Infrastructure spending has been a major feature of the Biden economic plan. The American Jobs Plan is a $2.3 trillion spending program devoted to improving infrastructure.
Biden evidently hopes to win GOP support for this plan, giving at least one of his less controversial projects some bipartisan support.
Bipartisan relationships were a major theme during the campaign, wherein Biden frequently attempted to present himself as a moderate open to working with Republicans in Congress.
Unfortunately for the White House, a raise in corporate taxes is, according to McConnell, a line which Congressional Republicans will never cross in their negotiations with the President.
A tax increase for corporations would be essential to such an enormous spending project and Democrats are hoping to undo tax cuts made in 2017 to pay for the infrastructure agenda.
Republicans, however, appear to remain firmly devoted to protecting the lowered corporate tax rate, even as alliances between Republicans and major corporations are increasingly evaporating.
No agreement for infrastructure plan
Republican leadership is also concerned about the allegedly vague use of the word “infrastructure” in the Biden plan, with McConnell asserting that the first step towards cooperation would be agreeing on a definition.
The White House plans to devote spending on both traditional infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, and newer concerns, such as expanded broadband and access to charging stations for electronic vehicles.
Republicans have opposed the inclusion of these new considerations under the infrastructure label, arguing that they do not belong in the current proposals.
Overall, the meeting appears to have been fruitless for both parties. Republicans appear to be very unwilling to consider the plans in their current state and Biden will not be eager to make cuts within his own agenda.
For Biden and Congressional Democrats the meeting is at least enough to make the claim that there was an attempt to do something in a bipartisan fashion, even if it failed.
As long as McConnell is devoted to the current corporate tax rate there will be little that Biden can do beyond waiting for another opportunity.