President Joe Biden on Friday rejected a new counteroffer made by Republicans on infrastructure despite a $50 billion increase in spending, telling the GOP’s key negotiator that the new offer did not meet his policy goals.

And as the talks between Senate Republicans led by West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito and the White House hit a wall, a bipartisan group of senators could emerge as the next key negotiating partners with Biden on infrastructure. Whether they can reach a deal remains to be seen but the group has been working on a proposal that it could unveil as soon as next week, according to sources familiar with the effort.

The group includes Sens. Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican; Susan Collins, a Maine Republican; Joe Manchin, a West Virgina Democrat; Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican; Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican; Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat; Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat; and Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat.

Capito presented the new Republican counteroffer on infrastructure, “which consisted of an about $50 billion increase in spending across a number of infrastructure programs,” according to the readout from White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Psaki said the President felt the offer “did not meet his objectives.”

“The President expressed his gratitude for her effort and goodwill, but also indicated that the current offer did not meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs,” the readout stated in part.

Continue…