WASHINGTON – In a concession to the Republicans, President Joe Biden has offered to stop raising the corporate tax rate to pay for a bipartisan infrastructure package of at least $ 1 trillion and instead work to prevent companies from exploiting tax loopholes.
But the president still supports raising corporate taxes to cover other parts of his agenda.
Biden’s latest infrastructure counteroffer, proposed to Republican senators this week, would keep former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, which Republicans oppose reversing, intact. You mentioned it a “red line” in their negotiations with the White House.
The tweaked proposal would no longer increase the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, but would instead rely on other funding components of Biden’s American Jobs Plan: strengthening tax enforcement for the richest earners in the country and ensuring the largest corporations – some of which have been avoided taxes pay – pay at least 15%.
“This should be perfectly acceptable to a number of Republicans who have said they want to leave the 2017 tax law untouched,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
However, Psaki also made it clear that Biden hasn’t given up his urge to hike the corporate tax rate in order to pay for future proposals like a $ 1.8 trillion family plan This includes subsidized childcare and a universal pre-kindergarten.
“Absolutely not,” said Psaki. “What the president believes is that companies can afford to pay a little more. And that is how we can pay for a number of the bold proposals he has put forward.”
Biden’s new offer, first reported by the Washington Post, was made during a private one-on-one interview Wednesday with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, RW. Va., The negotiator of a group of six Republicans who are seeking an infrastructure settlement with the White House. The conversation in the Oval Office lasted almost an hour. Biden, who is visiting Rehoboth Beach, Del., On Thursday, and Capito said they plan to regroup on Friday.
Biden signaled that he wanted at least $ 1 trillion in new infrastructure spending on top of the already approved base spending of $ 400 billion on infrastructure needs.
Capito’s Senate office declined to comment on the president’s offer.
Biden has already cut the cost of his American job plan from $ 2.25 trillion last month to $ 1.7 trillion, to get closer to an amount Republicans could support. In their counterproposal last week, the Republicans increased their offer from $ 586 billion to $ 928 billion. But the Republican proposal contains only $ 290 billion on top of the basic funding.
Psaki didn’t say when asked if Biden was ready to go under $ 1 trillion in his offer to Republicans. “We’ll keep the optionality on the table and we’ll see how the conversation goes tomorrow,” she said.
Republicans have proposed reallocating already approved COVID-19 rescue funds and user fees to pay for infrastructure – ideas the Biden government immediately rejected.
Republicans also said they were only willing to pay for physical infrastructure like repairs to roads, bridges and airports, as well as broadband rollout. However, Biden remains committed to “social infrastructure,” proposing $ 400 billion to revamp the care of the elderly and the disabled in addition to traditional infrastructure.
The White House has also raised concerns that the GOP counter-offer has little or no funding to repair Veterans Affairs hospitals, railroads, repair transportation systems, replace the country’s lead pipes, and invest in clean energy jobs.
With Congress returning after a week-long hiatus, next week will be a key moment in the infrastructure negotiations between Biden and the Republicans that have been dragging on for weeks. The House Transport and Infrastructure Committee will begin drafting road-funding laws on Wednesday, which could complement Biden’s proposal.
Secretary of State Pete Buttigieg told CNN on Sunday “negotiations can’t go on forever” and White House officials said they hope to have “clear direction” for a bipartisan package next week.
Calling it “an important moment in the timeline,” Psaki noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have said they want to pass an infrastructure bill by the summer. But Psaki stopped setting a deadline next week to reach an agreement.
“We’re not here to set new deadines,” said Psaki. “The president will certainly not accept a deal that does not help create millions of jobs and make a historic investment in our country’s infrastructure.”
Reach out to Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.