Top Republican accuses White House of moving goalposts on infrastructure – but she didn’t budge on either of Biden’s requests

Shelley Moore Capito
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

  • Biden ended infrastructure negotiations with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on Tuesday.
  • Capito later said she was “disappointed” at how things ended and Biden kept “moving goalposts” on her.
  • But her GOP group barely budged on their offer and refused to raise taxes, which Biden proposed.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

After nearly six weeks of back and forth between President Joe Biden and West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on infrastructure, Biden ended the negotiations on Tuesday after failing to come to an agreement.

Capito said in a Fox News interview on Wednesday that the White House “kept moving the goalposts” on the Republican group, and she was “frustrated” with how things turned out.

“I’m a bit disappointed and frustrated that the White House kept moving the ball on me and then finally just brought me negotiations that were untenable and then ended the negotiations altogether,” Capito said. It’s unclear exactly what Capito was referring to, but the public statements from both sides indicate the White House kept coming down on the cost of the package and the GOP was inflexible.

There seemed to be disappointment on both sides. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Tuesday that Biden was disappointed that “while he was willing to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, the Republican group had increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion.”

Capito and the group of Republicans first brought Biden a $568 billion infrastructure offer, which was significantly smaller than the $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan he proposed. He then offered the group $1.7 trillion, and even suggested going as low as $1 trillion, but the GOP only came back to him with a $928 billion offer, which included only $150 billion in new spending.

Since unveiling his plan, Biden has kept saying he’s committed to a bipartisan agreement, as seen with his willingness to come down on cost to get both sides of the aisle on board. For instance, after his talks with Capito collapsed, he reached out to some members of a new bipartisan group about another infrastructure proposal. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a member of that group, has already said that tax increases are out of the question.

Using corporate tax hikes to fund his plan is one of the things Biden has remained firm on, but the GOP group never budged on the possibility of doing so, calling it a “red line” and suggesting repurposing unused stimulus funds instead.

“The pay-fors that they brought to me the final time were many taxes,” Capito said. “We had told them before we could do this without raising taxes and we gave them great opportunity to look at our pay-fors and how we would pay for this. I think when they brought the tax hikes before me the last time when I was in the Oval Office I knew they weren’t really serious at that point.”

Given that tax hikes are a core component of Biden’s plan, the likelihood of reaching a bipartisan agreement is slim, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said during a press briefing on Tuesday that Democrats are preparing to use reconciliation, meaning passing a bill without any GOP votes.

“We all know as a caucus we will not be able to do all the things that the country needs in a totally bipartisan way,” Schumer said. “So at the same time, we are pursuing the pursuit of reconciliation.”

Read the original article on Business Insider