WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden met Wednesday with the “Big Four” leaders from Congress for the first time since taking office to try to find common ground on his infrastructure plan.
“We’re gonna see whether we can reach some consensus on a compromise,” President Biden said ahead of the Oval Office meeting.
After a 90 minute discussion, both sides left the White House saying they felt more optimistic about a bipartisan deal, but they’re still split on what it should include and how to pay for it.
“It was a positive meeting,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA.
“There is certainly a bipartisan desire to get an outcome,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY.
The president’s proposal would invest more than $2 trillion in infrastructure, housing, electric vehicles, and care for elderly and disabled Americans.
“One area of shall we say not total agreement was electric cars,” Pelosi said.
To combat climate change, President Biden proposes spending up to $174 billion to encourage Americans to make the switch.
Democrats want to pay for the entire plan by raising the corporate tax rate, but that’s still a nonstarter for the GOP.
“Raising taxes would be the biggest mistake you could make,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA.
McCarthy said he’s concerned about the rise in food, housing and gas prices.
“Spending more trillions of dollars into this economy when you have a supply constraint is actually the reverse you want to do,” he said.
McCarthy and McConnell want a more targeted package to fund highway, airport and broadband projects.
“The first step is obviously to define what infrastructure is,” McConnell said.
Republicans would pay for their plan with user fees on products like electric vehicles, unspent federal funds, and possible contributions from state and local governments.