President Biden will make a concerted push this week to strike a deal with Republicans on his massive tax and spending proposals, including holding his first face-to-face meeting with the top two GOP lawmakers.
Biden is slated to attend a host of White House meetings this week – Tuesday with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Wednesday with the "big four" congressional leaders and Thursday with key Republicans – as he seeks to find a middle ground on his "Build Back Better" agenda.
The coming week could prove crucial in whether Biden is able to secure any measure of bipartisan support for his nearly $4 trillion economic plan, which includes the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan and the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan.
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The spending proposals allocate billions in new funding for roads and bridges, as well as transit systems, broadband, elder care, child care, universal pre-kindergarten and free community college. Biden has pushed for a slew of tax hikes on corporations and wealthy Americans to fund the plans.
But Republicans oppose the size and scope of Biden's proposals – which they say are too expensive and stray too far from "traditional" infrastructure – and have resisted any effort to roll back part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. To pay for the plans, Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%, imposing a higher global minimum on U.S. companies' foreign earnings, doubling the capital gains tax rate to 39.6% and hiking the individual income tax rate to 39.6%.
Biden will meet with groups of lawmakers this week to discuss counteroffers on at least parts of the proposals. He has expressed a willingness to negotiate certain aspects of the spending measures, including the corporate tax rate hike. GOP lawmakers last month offered a $568 billion proposal, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he would be willing to support as much as $800 billion on infrastructure.
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The president plans to meet with Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, John Barrasso of Wyoming, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Mike Crapo of Idaho and Roger Wicker of Mississippi on Thursday to discuss his infrastructure proposal, a White House official said on Friday.
"They will have a dialogue about policy areas of mutual agreement and identifying common ground on which they can work together and deliver results on the challenges facing American families," the official said.
Members of both sides of the aisle are likely to use the lackluster April jobs report to try to make their case. The Labor Department reported on Friday that payrolls increased by just 266,000 last month, sharply missing the 1 million forecast by Refinitiv economists.
Democrats have argued the worse-than-expected figure – which marked one of the biggest downside misses in decades – exemplified the need for additional government stimulus to boost the economy's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. But Republicans have said it's indicative of bloated spending bills that left unemployed Americans flush with cash and little incentive to return to work.
The White House has said it would like to see progress on a bill by Memorial Day and has indicated that it wants to send the measure to Biden's desk before the August recess.