Biden to Republicans: Show me your infrastructure plan

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Tanya Snyder
·3 min read
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President Joe Biden challenged Republicans on Monday to offer their own alternative to his $2 trillion-plus infrastructure proposal, saying he’s open to looking at any idea that has bipartisan support and a way to pay for it, people who attended an afternoon White House meeting with lawmakers said afterward.

The challenge: “The president challenged Republicans who said they're not comfortable with the corporate tax increase,” Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.), who attended the meeting, said in an interview. She quoted Biden as saying, “I want you to come to me and put a plan on the table — a real plan with a pay-for, and what you call infrastructure.“

Torres said Biden declared himself “open to hearing all proposals that are delivered to his desk, and that's what he challenged us“ to do.

Biden told Republicans to come back to him with a proposal by mid-May, Rep. Carlos Giménez (R-Fla.) said.

Not backing down on raising taxes, though: Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) told reporters that Biden did not appear ready to back down on the 28 percent corporate tax rate that he’s proposed to pay for the bill, though he didn’t rule it out, either.

“My sense was he feels pretty strongly about that,” Crist said. “He talked about the fact that a lot of corporations aren’t paying any tax, zero. And that was disconcerting to him.”

Crist said that while the president is still working to get bipartisan consensus around a plan, Biden also expressed that “if it doesn't end up being bipartisan, it's something that does need to be done for the American people.”

“We haven't addressed infrastructure in a long time,“ Crist added. “Different administrations have talked about it and it just hasn't gotten done yet, and I think the president's pretty darn committed to making sure that it does get done.”

Splitting the bill: Torres and Crist both said that meeting included only a brief discussion of a proposal by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) to split the American Jobs Plan into two bills, with one designed to get bipartisan support while the second would pass with only Democratic votes. Crist said he didn’t see “a whole lot of reaction from my Democratic colleagues“ about the idea.

“If two bills gets the job done, I think [Biden] wants to see it,” Torres said. “I walked away feeling very, very confident that whatever proposal we give him, he's more than willing and focused to look at it, as long as it has a pay-for and as long as it has some of the basic needs for America's infrastructure.”

Context: Monday‘s meeting, one of several times in recent weeks that lawmakers from both parties have been invited to the White House to discuss the infrastructure plan, exclusively included lawmakers who had previously served as mayors or governors.

What’s next: Democrats in the House and Senate are both expected to release infrastructure bills next month.

Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.