WH encouraged by Senate Republicans’ infrastructure counter-offer

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that it is encouraging to see Senate Republicans’ $928 billion infrastructure counter-offer, while noting that major concerns remain.

“We are grateful for the work of Senator Capito and her colleagues on this proposal,” Psaki said in a statement on Thursday, referring to Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican Senator from West Virginia.

“It is encouraging to see her group come forward with a substantially increased funding level-nearing 1 trillion dollars,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Press Secretary as saying.

The Republicans had initially put out a $568 billion infrastructure framework last month.

The Press Secretary, however, noted that the White House remains concerned that the plan still provides no substantial new funds to fix veterans’ hospitals, build modern rail systems, repair transit systems, remove dangerous lead pipes, boost clean energy economy, among other things.

The White House is also concerned that the proposal on how to pay for the plan “remains unclear”, Psaki said.

President Joe Biden’s administration has proposed tax hikes for corporations and the wealthy to offset the cost, which has sparked backlash from Republicans and business groups.

The Senate Republicans’ newly unveiled counteroffer came a few days after the White House lowered the overall price tag of Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan to $1.7 trillion.

Republicans had lashed out at Biden’s original plan, arguing that it consists of numerous “far-left demands”, and is not targeting actual infrastructure.

Psaki, meanwhile, said the Biden administration would follow up after getting additional detail, noting that the White House is continuing to explore other proposals “that we hope will emerge”.

“We will work actively with members of the House and Senate next week, so that there is a clear direction on how to advance much needed jobs legislation when Congress resumes legislative business during the week of June 7,” she added.

In a tweet on Thursday, Capito said: “Today’s counter-offer is a serious effort to reach a compromise with President Biden that achieves our shared infrastructure priorities in a fiscally responsible way.”

–IANS

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