GOP Sen. Capito: WH showing 'very encouraging signs' on negotiating infrastructure package
Republicans are proposing a narrower plan to counter Biden's $2T package
Republicans have responded to President Biden's $2 trillion-plus spending plan with a narrower proposal that would cost roughly $568 billion, and while there is a wide gap between the two sides, one Republican senator gave reason for optimism.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is one of the Republicans behind the counterproposal, and she told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that she has been in touch with the White House since the GOP first introduced their bill.
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"Very encouraging signs," Capito said, referencing recent comments from White House press secretary Jen Psaki as well has discussions she has had with others in the administration.
Capito indicated a willingness to negotiate the dollars, if the two sides can reach an agreement on the scope.
"[T]here's no reason we shouldn't be able to get to an agreed amount at this point. I don't know where that is right now, but at least we're talking, we're starting to talk, we've gotten some good signals back that this is the direction the White House and others want to go.
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The scope of what should be considered infrastructure has been a point of contention. Republicans have focused on a more traditional meaning of the word, focusing on roads, bridges, railways, and other transportation-related expenses. Democrats have been stretching the definition of the term to include other items.
The American Jobs Plan references "care infrastructure," for example, which allocates $25 billion to upgrade child care facilities and $400 billion for care for the elderly and disabled. The White House summary of the American Jobs Plan says it will spend just $115 billion " -- representing slightly less than 6% of the $2 trillion-plus -- to modernize the bridges, highways, roads, and main streets that are in most critical need of repair."
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Capito opposes raising taxes to pay for the infrastructure plan. Instead, she proposed using unused funds that have previously been appropriated for coronavirus relief, as well as "user fees."
"We have folks using our roads and bridges and other infrastructure that aren't really paying in for the maintenance and use of those highways. That would be electric vehicles, or hydrogen, or some hybrid. So we build that into the formula," she said.
Fox News' Audrey Conklin and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.