President Joe Biden holds a meeting with US Senators about infrastructure improvements in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, February 11, 2021.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
President Joe Biden will meet with bipartisan members of Congress on Monday as he tries to sell his more than $2 trillion infrastructure plan, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.
Congress will return to Washington next week for the first time since Biden unveiled his proposal, which would inject money into roads, bridges, airports, broadband, electric vehicles, housing and job training, while hiking the corporate tax rate to 28%. The president faces a slog getting the bill through the House and Senate, where Democrats hold narrow majorities and Republicans are skeptical of a huge spending package.
Biden on Monday will stress “the need for a bold, once-in-a-generation investment in America to put millions of people to work,” Psaki said. She added that the administration expects to release a list of attendees on Monday.
Since unveiling his plan, Biden has said he would listen to input from “any Republican who wants to get this done.” The meeting will start the president’s effort to hear out the GOP — even if the differences between the parties’ visions for an infrastructure bill may prevent them from working together.
Biden signaled he could try to pass legislation with only Democratic votes through a special budget process if Republicans refuse to address what he considers the needs of the moment. The GOP has not only called for spending a fraction of the president’s desired price tag on infrastructure, but also argued a corporate tax increase would hamstring the economy. Biden’s plan calls to hike the rate to 28%, after Republicans cut it to 21% from 35% as part of their 2017 tax law.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, among others, has pushed Biden to try to negotiate a deal with Republicans. The senator signaled this week that he could oppose the repeated use of budget reconciliation to pass bills without GOP votes.
Manchin, whose vote Democrats will need to get a bill through the Senate, has also said he prefers a 25% corporate tax rate to 28%. Biden said this week that he is “willing to negotiate” the tax rate.
The infrastructure plan is Biden’s second major legislative push since he took office in January. Democrats passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package last month.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that she hopes her chamber can pass an infrastructure bill as soon as July.
Democrats then want to turn to separate legislation that would address paid leave, education and health care.