Biden ends infrastructure talks with GOP senators
PSAKI: “…He has seen that the sausage making is messy. It takes time….”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday chalked up prolonged negotiations on an infrastructure bill between President Joe Biden and Republicans as simply messy “sausage-making."
Just hours later, Biden washed his hands of the process – ending his talks with GOP negotiator Senator Shelley Capito and instead reaching out to a bipartisan group of lawmakers to help broker a deal.
In a follow-up statement issued late Tuesday, Psaki said Biden "informed Senator Capito today that the latest offer from her group did not, in his view, meet the essential needs of our country."
Biden changed course after Capito, the leader of a group of six Senate Republicans handling the negotiations, offered $330 billion in new spending on infrastructure, far short of Biden’s reduced $1.7 trillion offer.
Psaki added that Biden "expressed his disappointment that, while he was willing to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, the Republican group had increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion."
But Capito, who had a five-minute call with Biden on Tuesday, pointed the finger at the President.
In a statement, she said, "After negotiating in good faith and making significant progress to move closer to what the president wanted, I am disappointed by his decision."
Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the talks "seem to be running into a brick wall."
Schumer gave new life to the possibility of some sort of a bipartisan bill being cobbled together that could ultimately be paired with a Democratic-only bill to achieve more of the administration's $2 trillion investment goals.
Republicans have been talking about a far more modest package of less than $1 trillion.
A bipartisan group of senators met late on Tuesday to discuss the next steps on infrastructure.
They included Republican Senators Bill Cassidy, Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, and Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, who hold key swing votes in the chamber.