The lead Republican negotiator, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, was encouraged by the talks and expected the White House to be back in touch by week’s end, her office said.
But there was “not a significantly changed offer” from the Republicans during their meeting with the administration this week, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private negotiations.
The White House’s hopes for a bipartisan deal on infrastructure have cooled but they have not abandoned the effort, according to an administration official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss about the private conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity. There was some dismay that the Republican counteroffer did not substantially budge from the party’s original $568 billion proposal, leaving it far short of the White House’s plan, according to the official.
Biden has reveled in the face-to-face negotiations, aides said, and has expressed hope to bring Republicans along. West Wing officials have been hearted by the public comments made by some of the GOP negotiating team, including Capito, the official said.
But the outward talks of progress have not translated into the two sides getting much closer to a deal. Beyond the significant gap in the two sides’ visions for the size of the package, there has been little discussion of how to reach an agreement on how to pay for it.