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President Biden meets with Republican senators including Sen. Shelley Capito (W.Va.) to discuss the administration’s infrastructure plan. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Pool via Getty Images

The White House offered Senate Republicans a $1.7 trillion infrastructure counteroffer, a $550 billion cut from the original proposal, in "the spirit of finding common ground," press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

The big picture: The price tag is still billions of dollars more than Republicans' proposal, and a spokesperson for Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the lead GOP negotiator, said Friday's offer remained "well above the range of what can pass Congress with bipartisan support," per Politico.

Details: The White House and Senate Republicans met earlier this week. Friday's proposed changes to the president's American Jobs Plan would shift spending on research and development, supply chains, manufacturing and small business to other proposals.

  • Psaki said the latest proposal slashes expenditures on broadband, roads, bridges and other major projects to close in on Republicans' bottom line. Still, President Biden's team is pushing for investments in new veterans hospitals, rail and green energy projects.

What they're saying: "This proposal exhibits a willingness to come down in size, giving on some ideas that are important to the president ... while also staying firm in areas that are most vital to building our infrastructure and industries of the future," Psaki said at Friday's press briefing.

  • The counterproposal highlights the president's pledge not to raise taxes for people making less than $400,000 a year, per Psaki.
  • It also encourages Republicans to "take a fresh look" at the fact that many corporations and individuals in the highest income bracket can afford to pay more taxes, Psaki added.
  • Yes, but: “Based on today’s meeting, the groups seem further apart after two meetings with White House staff than they were after one meeting with President Biden,” Capito’s spokesperson said, per Politico.

What to watch via AP: "The president’s team is holding to a soft Memorial Day deadline it had set to determine whether a deal was within reach."

Go deeper

Aug 28, 2021 - World

Israeli PM tells Biden he won't publicly campaign against Iran deal

President Biden greets Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the White House on Aug. 27. Photo: GPO/ Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told President Biden in their meeting on Friday at the White House that although he is against a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, he isn’t going to publicly campaign against it like his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, two U.S. sources briefed on the meeting told Axios.

Why it matters: Biden and his senior advisers are veterans of the intense confrontations between Netanyahu and former President Obama on Iran.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.