Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sen. Mitt Romney

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) told President Biden Monday they are opposed to increasing the corporate tax rate to pay for his proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure package, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The opposition from Romney and Hoeven, the only two Republican senators in Monday’s bipartisan Oval Office meeting, suggests Biden is going to have a difficult time finding any Republican support to pay for his road, bridge and health care spending proposals by increasing corporate rates.

  • The White House is still looking for evidence there are any Republicans willing to entertain some of the president’s proposals, including Biden’s plan to raise the corporate rate from 21% to 28%.
  • If administration officials conclude Republican senators are only interested in drawing red lines, they may be more inclined to pursue a purely partisan path and look for 50 Democratic votes in the Senate to pass a bill via the budget reconciliation process.
  • The president himself told reporters at the outset of the meeting: “I am prepared to compromise, prepared to see what we can do and what we can get together on.”

What they are saying: While both Romney and Hoeven are in favor of an infrastructure package, they sat they want to see a more targeted payment mechanism – gas taxes and user fees – to help fund individual projects.

  • “There is broad support for infrastructure, and I believe a bipartisan bill is possible, but we need to find agreement to make these updates in a targeted way that doesn’t raise taxes,” Hoeven said in a statement.
  • “I know that my Democratic friends are more inclined to look for the general revenue fund for taxpayers to pick up the bill, but my inclination is more towards the people who actually use a facility to be the ones that pay for it,” Romney told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Behind the scenes: Biden began the meeting by yielding the floor to Maine's Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats and a was once public television host.

  • King ensured that everyone in the room had an opportunity to air the views and explain their positions.
  • Romney acknowledged as much and praised the president. “He was in listening mode, and, and was gracious to solicit our respective points of view,” he said.

The bottom line: Negotiations between Senate Republicans and the White House are just beginning, but their opening positions are miles apart.

  • The vast distance gives partisan Democrats more space to argue to Biden that he should pursue a deal via reconciliation and not bother trying to bring Republicans along.

Go deeper

Apr 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.

The states ending federal pandemic unemployment benefits early

Protesters demand senators support the continuation of unemployment benefits on July 16, 2020 in Miami Springs, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At least 12 Republican-led states have announced they are terminating their involvement in federal pandemic-related unemployment programs early.

Driving the news: Many of the states' governors cited worker shortages. But some experts say it's the job climate, including pandemic-era factors, and not unemployment benefits that is determining when and how people return to work.

Elon Musk suspends Tesla purchases with bitcoin

Elon Musk. Photo: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Consumers can no longer buy Tesla vehicles with bitcoin, CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter Wednesday.

What he's saying: Musk cited the environmental concerns associated with bitcoin — the cryptocurrency has a massive carbon footprint — as his reasoning behind Wednesday's decision.