UPDATED 6:51 AM PT – Thursday, June 3, 2021
The D.C. infrastructure saga has continued, this time with a one-on-one between West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Biden. The White House said in a statement Wednesday discussions with the Republican lawmaker were “constructive and frank.”
Capito, the Senate GOP’s lead negotiator, advocated for the adoption of the GOP’s $928 billion counter proposal instead of Biden’s $1.7 trillion package. A major disagreement is on the definition of infrastructure with Democrats wanting to set aside money for social programs that have not been traditionally been included in infrastructure bill.
Today President Biden hosted Senator Capito for a constructive and frank conversation about working together to grow the economy and benefit America’s middle class workers and families by investing in our infrastructure. pic.twitter.com/WrrFixomZC
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 3, 2021
“Part of the problem is what is the definition of infrastructure?” asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-Ky.). “We pretty much understand it’s roads, bridges, ports, broadband…traditionally infrastructure. The Democrats would like to spend a lot more.”
A spokesperson for Capito said the two discussed how they can come together to reach a bipartisan agreement. This comes as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been pressuring Biden not to give Republicans an inch in negotiations.
“We need a clear direction, you know?” he asserted. “Certainly encouraging to see the healthy conversations that have happened over the last few days and weeks, but the president keeps saying inaction is not an option and time is not unlimited here.”
Meanwhile, Biden has criticized members of his own party for not voting down party lines. Despite ongoing partisan hurdles and a $772 billion difference Capito and Biden are expected to speak again Friday.