“The president spoke recently with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV.) and suggested he was contemplating her counteroffer of roughly $568 billion more seriously than he viewed the Republican response to his coronavirus relief legislation, which he dismissed quickly as inadequate,” the outlet added.
Senate Democrats are following suit, “meeting regularly with their Republican counterparts,” using the mantra “’slow, steady and piecemeal’” “to signal their willingness to seek bipartisanship on smaller-scale bills, even if that doesn’t square neatly with Biden’s initial vision of immediate transformational change.”
Democrats likely believe that more middle-of-the-road Republicans, like Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), could be open to voting for a major hike in government spending if certain specific provisions are removed from the bill — or that Republicans may agree to vote for a bill that gives billions to physical infrastructure improvements in return for concessions on the more nebulous “infrastructure” proposals in Biden’s “American Families Plan” — proposals that include everything from universal free preschool to two years of free community college.
Moderate Republicans like Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) have already indicated they’re open to such a compromise.
“There’s a way forward here if the White House is willing to work with us,” Portman told Meet the Press on Sunday.
Collins said nearly the same thing last week.
“This is going to be a test for Joe Biden. The Joe Biden that I knew in the Senate was always interested in negotiation,” Collins told reporters. “This is going to be a test on whether President Biden is truly interested in bipartisanship. If he is, we can get there on the core infrastructure package. And by that, it means roads, bridges, highways, rail, waterways, and of course, broadband.”
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