Key Republican mentioned infrastructure talks with Biden proceed, however the “huge void” stays because the GOP reveals the counteroffer

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) asks questions during a Senate Fund Subcommittee hearing to approve the fiscal 2022 budget application for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Dirksen Senate office building in Washington, Jan. May 2021 to be checked.

Greg Nash | Pool | Reuters

Republicans and President Joe Biden are closer to agreeing an infrastructure plan but have yet to resolve basic issues about the size of a package and payment, a GOP senator who led the effort said Thursday.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, RW.V., told CNBC that she was “optimistic” about negotiations with the White House but still saw a “large gap” between the GOP and Biden’s proposals. Capito and a group of Senate Republicans plan to present their counter-offer for infrastructure to Biden Thursday morning.

GOP lawmakers have signaled the proposal will cost nearly $ 1 trillion. Biden’s revised Republican bid was $ 1.7 trillion – $ 600 billion less than his original plan.

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Republicans have said they don’t want to levy taxes to cover the cost of improving transportation, broadband, and water systems. Biden has called for the corporate tax rate to be raised from 21% – the level set by the GOP after the 2017 tax cut – to at least 25%.

It is unclear whether the two parties can overcome huge ideological differences in what constitutes infrastructure and how to pay for improvements in order to reach a bipartisan deal. The White House has said it will see progress in talks with Republicans by Memorial Day.

If the negotiations are not promising, the Democrats will have to decide whether to try to pass an infrastructure bill on their own using specific budget rules.

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