The prospects for an ambitious infrastructure deal have been thrown into serious doubt after the White House reduced President Joe Biden’s sweeping proposal to $1.7 trillion but Republican senators rejected the compromise as disappointing, saying “vast differences” remain.
While talks have not collapsed, the downbeat assessment is certain to mean new worries from Democrats that time is slipping to strike a deal. The president’s team is holding to a soft Memorial Day deadline to determine whether a compromise is within reach. Skepticism had been rising on all sides over the lack of significant movement off Biden’s $2.3 trillion plan or the GOP’s proposed $568 billion alternative.
“This proposal exhibits a willingness to come down in size,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki, disclosing the new offer Friday as talks were underway between key Cabinet secretaries and GOP senators at a crucial stage toward a deal.
But after the hourlong meeting, the Republicans quickly rejected the new approach as “well above the range” of a proposal that could win bipartisan support.