White House Denies Biden Made Big Concession In Infrastructure Talks

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13, 2021: President Joe Biden makes a brief statement to the press during a meeting with a group of republican senators, including Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV), right, to discuss the administration’s infrastructure plan, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., on May 13, 2021. CREDIT: T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: U.S. President Joe Biden (L) makes a statement to the press as Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV) (R) listens during a meeting with a group of republican senators to discuss the administration’s in... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: U.S. President Joe Biden (L) makes a statement to the press as Sen. Shelley Capito (R-WV) (R) listens during a meeting with a group of republican senators to discuss the administration’s infrastructure plan in the Oval Office at the White House on May 13, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS

President Biden on Wednesday reportedly offered to lower his initial corporate tax hike proposal during a private meeting with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the GOP’s lead negotiator on infrastructure, according to the Washington Post.

The Post reported that the President is willing to forgo the corporate tax rate of 28 percent that he initially proposed in an effort to reach an agreement with Senate Republicans on infrastructure.

Instead, Biden reportedly recommended a new, minimum corporate tax of 15 percent in an effort to ensure that all corporations pay taxes. In exchange for the President’s corporate tax rate drop, Republican would need to agree to at least $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending.

However, Biden still plans on seeking the corporate tax hike and is open to pursuing the policy outside of infrastructure negotiations.

During his presidential campaign last year Biden pledged to not raise taxes on Americans earning under $400,000 annually, while attempting not to upset Republicans who praise the 2017 tax law passed under the Trump administration.

Biden is expected to engage with Capito again on Friday, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Psaki denied that the President was taking a “new approach” by suggesting a 15 percent minimum corporate tax, during a briefing on Thursday.

Psaki said that the rate was included in the American Jobs Plan.

“What happened over the last couple of days and also in the meeting yesterday is that the President did a thorough review of all of the tax reforms he’s proposed — many of them on the campaign — it was in the American Jobs Plan as a pay for and is also reflected in our budget that we just put out last Friday,” Psaki said. “And he looked to see what could be a path forward with his Republican colleagues on this specific negotiation.”

Psaki maintained that Biden has long been a proponent of identifying pieces in the American Jobs Plan that should be viewed as “completely acceptable” to Republicans who want to leave the 2017 tax law untouched.

“So I wouldn’t say it’s a new approach by the President — this is in our budget, it was on the campaign, it was in the American Jobs Plan proposal,” Psaki said.

Asked later in the briefing whether the President abandoned the plan to raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, Psaki replied “absolutely not.”

“What the President believes is that corporations can afford to pay a little bit more and that’s a way that we can pay for a range of the bold proposals that he has put forward,” Psaki said. “But he also took a look at all of tax proposals that he has put forward over time to find a way where there would be pay fors based on their bottom lines many of the Republican negotiators should be able to agree to.”

Psaki’s remarks follow weeks of Republicans dragging out mostly unproductive negotiations as lawmakers and the White House struggle to find common ground on what should be included in the infrastructure package and how to pay for it.

Biden initially set a Memorial Day deadline for the infrastructure talks. But with Senate Republicans’ $928 billion counteroffer to Biden’s $1.7 trillion proposal, the White House and congressional Republicans have hit a stalemate on negotiations.

Watch Psaki’s remarks below:

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