- Biden met with a group of bipartisan lawmakers Monday to discuss his $2 trillion infrastructure bill.
- He told reporters before the meeting that he was “prepared to compromise” on the legislation.
- The GOP has argued much of the spending is directed toward nontraditional infrastructure.
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President Joe Biden told a bipartisan group of lawmakers Monday that he’s “prepared to compromise” on his administration’s $2 trillion nontraditional infrastructure plan.
Ahead of a White House meeting with both Democratic and Republican members of Congress, the president told reporters he’s willing to compromise on both what’s included in the package as well as how to pay for the landmark piece of legislation.
Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with the bipartisan group of lawmakers, all of whom have previously served as mayor or governor, in an effort to garner support for the American Jobs Plan that Republicans have rebuked since it was announced last month.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a Democrat, told ABC News reporter Trish Turner in a pool report that the meeting was “just an initial discussion,” though she said she thought it was a “good discussion” and was impressed with what lawmakers in the room had to say and how Biden responded.
Shaheen said the group discussed possible options for “pay-fors,” or offset savings found from other government programs, to pay for the proposed legislation.
“We talked about an infrastructure bank, we talked about bonding, we talked about user fees. A whole range of things,” Shaheen told Turner following the meeting.
When asked if Biden seemed committed to a bipartisan bill even if it’s smaller, Shaheen said, “he seemed open to discussing a whole range of things.”
The administration has indicated it’s more open to negotiation on the infrastructure bill than it was on Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill passed earlier this year, according to PBS News, though the White House has also signaled that the president is willing to forgo bipartisanship if doing so proves necessary to pass the legislation.
The president’s openness to cooperation with the GOP could put Republicans in a difficult position if they refuse to compromise on the nontraditional elements of the bill that are popular among American voters.
Republicans have condemned the bill primarily due to its inclusion of items that aren’t physical or traditional infrastructure, like support for home health care workers, strengthening broadband and water services, and clean energy tax credits. The GOP has falsely claimed that only 6% of the bill’s spending goes to rebuilding roads and bridges, though a Bank of America team calculated the real number is closer to half.
Following the meeting, Biden tweeted a photo of himself and fellow lawmakers discussing the bill in the Oval Office.
“I’m confident that together, we’ll be able to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure,” Biden tweeted.
—President Biden (@POTUS) April 20, 2021