Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) spun the merry-go-round of infrastructure talks back to April in comments to reporters on Wednesday, less than one day after the White House said that it would try to reach a deal through a coalition that includes the Utah senator.
“We’re not raising taxes,” Romney told CNN, immediately taking a key Democratic demand off the table.
Since infrastructure talks began in earnest in April, GOP negotiators have both demanded that President Biden account for every penny of new spending with new revenue, while also taking virtually all means of raising new revenue off the table.
Instead, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) proposed that the vast majority of the infrastructure package be composed of pre-existing funding from COVID relief packages. Those talks ended on Tuesday after Capito refused to propose an amount of new funding that was more than a tenth of Biden’s offer.
Capito made that initial proposal in April. Since then, Biden shaved $500 billion off his proposal as a concession. Republicans refused to spend more than $257 billion in new money.
As negotiations continued, Capito and her GOP colleagues offered virtually no meaningful concessions to Biden’s plans, and instead drew a series of red lines that make the infrastructure package nearly impossible to finance absent reappropriating already existing funding.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) separately shot down another Biden proposal that the President reportedly offered as a concession to Capito last week, in which the Senate would agree to impose a 15 percent floor on corporate book profits as part of a plan to set an international corporate tax minimum.
Toomey, the Financial Times reported, called the idea “crazy.”
“Certainly the whole fact that they had to try to persuade all these other countries to make sure they raise their taxes is a confession of the damage we’re doing to our own country,” Toomey told reporters, referring to a proposal in which the U.S. would ratify a treaty establishing the international minimum.