While infrastructure modernization and investment are in dire need from the federal government, bipartisan "infrastructure" talks between Senate Republicans and the White House quickly broke down. All the squawking from the White House about "bipartisan cooperation" was merely a facade as President Biden's initial $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal, now reduced to $1.7 trillion, is still light-years apart from GOP's $568 billion counteroffer last month.
According to Politico, Senate Republicans negotiating with the White House confirms they're not close to a deal on Monday evening. Democrats are demanding that President Biden abandon bipartisan cooperation and jam through a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure package rather than a water down $568 billion counteroffer from Republicans.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN on Monday, "there is still a lot of daylight between us." He added that the administration desires continued talks.
"We're too far apart. Because I think Mitch's ultimate purpose is not compromised but delay and mischief," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) last week.
The president is "entitled to his judgment on this but if I were in a room with him, I'd say it's time to move on," he said.
Republicans want the infrastructure package to focus only on roads, bridges, and broadband.
But Democrats have proposed more radical programs, such as family leave, housing, and addressing climate change.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told centrist Democrats who want bipartisan negotiations "need to be more clear about their patience and timeline." He urged GOP negotiators to accept a White House deal to move forward.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the top GOP negotiator, said her team "isn't ready to walk away from the deal" and is currently discussing another counteroffer to the president's offer that could be released by the end of the week.
But if the GOP continues to hold up a infrastructure deal, Democrats are likely to follow the same approach on a COVID aid bill in March, though some senators like Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are becoming frustrated that Democrats could leave behind Republicans for a second time.
The latest figure – about $1.7 trillion – is still more than $1 trillion higher than the GOP's offer. It seems Democrats might just move forward with President Biden's $1.7 trillion offer without GOP support.