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Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of senators are preparing a separate infrastructure proposal after negotiations between the White House and Republicans stalled, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) confirmed to Axios Tuesday.

Why it matters: The new package would narrow the definition of infrastructure and do away with some of the initiatives Democrats have pushed to include, such as funding for elder care and electric vehicles, according to the Washington Post, which first reported the news.

  • Instead, the package would focus on "traditional infrastructure" elements such as roads and bridges, per the Wall Street Journal.

The state of play: Senate Democrats previously set a Memorial Day weekend deadline for the negotiations, after which they plan to go forward with the budget reconciliation process.

  • Talks between the White House and a group of Republican senators led by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), fell apart over the weekend, as the two sides appeared still far apart on a potential agreement, per Axios' Alayna Treene.
  • But earlier Tuesday, Wicker signaled that the group was preparing a $1 trillion counteroffer for the White House this week.
  • Still, the bipartisan group of senators, including GOP Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Rob Portman (Ohio) and Democratic Sen. Manchin, are moving ahead with their plan as "a kind of back-burner backup," Romney told the Journal.
  • "I want to make sure that we don’t interfere with the process going on between the White House and Shelley Moore Capito, so they’re on the front burner and we’re kind of a back-burner backup,” he said.

What they're saying: "Shelley’s done a great job, she's been involved in everything we can, but you know she has put out a plan there and that's not where the White House is and some of us want to break this logjam, and if there’s a logjam you know then we'll try to, but she'll be involved and she understands and she wants to get something done too, I really believe that," Manchin told reporters.

  • Of note: Manchin also noted that he believes negotiations with the White House should extend past the holiday weekend as long as progress is being made.

Go deeper

May 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

GOP's latest infrastructure counteroffer to cost roughly $1 trillion

Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito Roger Wicke and John Barrasso. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A group of GOP senators negotiating on infrastructure is preparing a $1 trillion counteroffer for the White House this week, a key leader said, far closer to President Biden’s target than previous overtures.

Why it matters: Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) signaled that Republicans will be moving in a big way toward the Biden administration's plan, reigniting hopes that a bipartisan deal is possible.

May 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Infrastructure judgment day expected after Senate recess

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Senate Democrats are settling on an endgame for their bipartisan infrastructure negotiations: let them continue through the week after their Memorial Day recess, then forge ahead on their own if there's no deal.

Why it matters: President Biden said he hoped both parties could agree on a deal for roads and bridges before the holiday, but with the talks crumbling, Democrats are now readying to revert to Plan B — budget reconciliation — to get shovels into the ground.

May 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Romney first Senate Republican to express support for Jan. 6 commission bill

Sen. Mitt Romney at an April Senate hearing in Washington, D.C. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told reporters Monday he "would support" a House-passed bill to create a commission to investigate the deadly Capitol riots.

Why it matters: Romney is the first Republican senator to publicly support the bill to set up a bipartisan 9/11-style commission looking into the Jan. 6 insurrection.