- The Washington Times
Monday, May 24, 2021

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it’s now up to congressional Republicans to come up with a suitable counteroffer in the ongoing talks over President Biden‘s $2.3 trillion infrastructure package.

“The ball is in the Republicans’ court,” Ms. Psaki told reporters at the White House on Monday.

She said the White House shaved roughly $550 billion off the president’s original plan in the administration’s $1.7 trillion ante on Friday, including cuts to “core priorities” for the president.

“The last counteroffer that came from the Republicans just came up $50 billion. So, our concessions went 10 times as far as theirs,” she said. “So the ball is in their court. We are awaiting their counterproposal.”

She said the administration is eager to engage and would be willing to have GOP negotiators back at the White House after they see Republicans’ latest offer.

Ms. Psaki acknowledged that some of the administration’s proposed cuts are shifting into legislation already moving on Capitol Hill.

Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, released their own $568 billion proposal last month that focuses more on traditional infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.

Ms. Capito’s office said after the White House’s latest offer that the two sides remain far apart but that they would continue talking.

Cedric Richmond, a top adviser to the president, said on CNN over the weekend that the president is interested in engaging Republicans but that Mr. Biden is prepared to shift tactics if it looks like nothing is happening.

The White House has set Memorial Day as a soft deadline to see movement in Congress on the package.

Liberals on Capitol Hill say Democrats should simply press forward and muscle through a package without GOP support, as they did for the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package lawmakers passed in March.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.