(LR) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 12, 2021 , DC. The government says President Biden hopes to find common ground in his meeting with the leaders of Congress.
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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden hosted the Democratic and Republican leaders of both Houses of Congress at the White House on Wednesday, where they spent nearly two hours discussing the president’s infrastructure plan but made little progress on consensus.
This was the first time in his presidency that Biden met personally with the so-called Big 4: Chuck Schumer, the majority leader of the Democratic Senate in New York, and the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi from California, and the minority leader of the Republican Senate, Mitch McConnell from Kentucky and House, met minority leader Kevin McCarthy from California. Vice President Kamala Harris also attended the meeting, which was held in the Oval Office.
“We’re going to talk a lot about the infrastructure today. And whether there is a way to reach a compromise that does the work of the people and is within the scope of everyone’s approval,” Biden said at the beginning.
After the meeting, McCarthy and McConnell spoke briefly to reporters.
McConnell said that almost all of the talks with the president have centered on infrastructure and that “there is a bipartisan desire to get a result”.
U.S. Senate Minority Chairperson Mitch McConnell (L) speaks to the press while House Minority Chairperson Kevin McCarthy follows her meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and Democratic Congress leaders on May 12, 2021 in White House in Washington, DC, is listening.
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He added, however, that the two sides have yet to “define what infrastructure is,” suggesting that the two sides have made no significant progress on the most fundamental elements of a negotiation.
A reading at the White House meeting said attendees had “agreed that infrastructure investment is needed” but cited no further progress.
Pelosi sounded the most optimistic of the attendees, saying that after the meeting she “felt more optimistic now that we will” [infrastructure] in a bipartisan way. But we will see. “
The first part of Biden’s two-part domestic policy agenda is the US $ 2.3 trillion employment plan, which targets a wide range of infrastructure spending spanning both traditional projects like roads and more advanced endeavors like expanding broadband.
Republicans have protested Biden’s plan to classify projects such as expanded broadband and electric vehicle charging stations as “infrastructure”.
McConnell also reiterated the GOP’s red line in raising the corporate tax rate, which was lowered in 2017 under then-President Donald Trump to fund one of Biden’s proposals.
“We’re not interested in reopening the 2017 tax laws. We both made that clear with the president. This is our red line,” McConnell said. “This discussion … does not include the 2017 tax bill review.”
The second part of Biden’s agenda is the $ 1.8 trillion plan for American families, which will fund four more years of free universal education, subsidize childcare for middle-class families, and expand paid family vacations and tax credits for Provides children.
During his presidential campaign, Biden promised to reach down the aisle and find areas of consensus between the two parties, which he believed would help repair the deeply divided nation.
Republicans say, however, that Biden can only hope to gain bipartisan support for part of his legislative agenda by reducing his infrastructure plan to less than half its current size and not funding it with corporate tax hikes, as Biden suggests. but with usage fees for drivers and transit drivers.
With regard to the family and childcare plan, few, if any, potential areas of tradeoff have emerged to date.
Biden also looked for similarities with a broken Republican Party, which made the political calculation even more difficult.
Wednesday’s meeting came just hours after House Republicans expelled MP Liz Cheney, Wyo., From her position as chair of the GOP conference for refusing to accept former President Donald Trump’s lie, that the 2020 elections had been rigged.
On Thursday, Biden is scheduled to meet six Republican senators who serve as senior members of the infrastructure committees: Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Pa. Pat Toomey, and Roger Wicker, Mississippi’s Senator.
This meeting has the potential to create more concrete matches than the leadership meeting on Wednesday.