Cabinet Officials Downplay Infrastructure Urgency

A picture of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris

Days after Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden wanted more from Senate Republicans’ latest infrastructure bill offer, cabinet officials said this week was not “do or die” to get agreement on a bipartisan bill.

Biden met with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on Friday. Psaki said Capito, Senate Republicans’ lead negotiator, offered an additional $50 billion to Republicans’ previous $928 billion offer.

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

Biden and Capito are scheduled to meet again today.

In Sunday morning interviews, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said bipartisan talks would continue. Those talks would commence simultaneously with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee beginning legislative work on portions of Biden’s American Jobs Plan.

“Our strong preference is to do this on a bipartisan basis,” Buttigieg said.

“There is no hardwired deadline” for bipartisan talks, Raimondo said. “We will not do this forever. But right now, there are good-faith efforts on both sides, and we are going to continue the work of doing our job and trying to get a bipartisan agreement.”

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