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President Biden (L) makes a statement to the press as Sen. Shelley Capito (R-W.Va.) looks on. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Pool/Getty Images

A group of Senate Republicans on Thursday released the framework for their latest counterproposal to President Biden's infrastructure plan, raising their offer from $568 billion to $928 billion.

The latest: White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged "several constructive additions" to the Republican offer, but said the administration remains "concerned that their plan still provides no substantial new funds for critical job-creating needs."

  • While the total price tag for the GOP proposal is $928 billion, only about $257 billion would come from new funding. The rest would be redirected from previous COVID relief funds.
  • "[W]e are worried that major cuts in COVID relief funds could imperil pending aid to small businesses, restaurants and rural hospitals using this money to get back on their feet after the crush of the pandemic," Psaki added.

Why it matters: The White House has indicated that Memorial Day is the soft deadline for progress on bipartisan negotiations. Biden had previously lowered the cost of his infrastructure proposal from $2.3 trillion to $1.7 trillion.

  • While hopes for a bipartisan deal were high, some Democrats are eager for Biden to abandon the effort to win over Republicans and use the budget reconciliation process, which would only require 50 votes in the Senate.
  • However, this could risk losing support from more moderate Democrats who want Republicans on board with the infrastructure plan. The Republican group that unveiled Thursday's proposal have signaled that this will be their last counteroffer.

What they're saying: “We believe that this counteroffer delivers on what President Biden told us in the Oval Office ... And that is to try to reach somewhere near $1 trillion over an eight-year period of time," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who has been leading negotiations on behalf of Republicans, said at a press conference.

  • “It’s a serious effort to try to reach a bipartisan agreement," Capito added. "We believe that the alternative, which is a partisan reconciliation process, would be destructive to our future bipartisan attempts."

By the numbers:

  • $506 billion for roads and bridges
  • $98 billion for public transit
  • $46 billion for passenger and freight rail
  • $21 billion for safety
  • $22 billion for ports and waterways
  • $56 billion for airports
  • $22 billion for water storage
  • $72 billion for water infrastructure
  • $65 billion for broadband infrastructure
  • $20 billion for infrastructure financing

Go deeper

May 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Republicans' Hail Mary on infrastructure

President Biden meets with Senate Republicans in February. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Some Senate Republicans might agree to add to the national debt to pay for a scaled-back infrastructure plan, senators and aides told Axios — one more grasp at a deal with President Biden before Democrats pack up and go it alone.

Why it matters: Skipping over the thorny question of how to offset up to $1 trillion in new projects could actually be politically and philosophically easier for GOP lawmakers than agreeing on tax increases.

Bipartisan group of lawmakers preparing new infrastructure package

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.

May 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Schumer's litmus test

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is forcing Republicans into a corner as he tries to pass his China-focused global competition bill.

Why it matters: It's important by itself but also seen by the left as a test for whether Democrats can work with the GOP on anything. If it fails to gain support, it would likely endanger future bipartisan efforts — including infrastructure talks — for the remainder of the 117th Congress.