Off The Wire
Biden eager to continue infrastructure talks with lawmakers - Psaki
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden is eager to continue discussions on major infrastructure legislation this week and wants to get more details on the latest bipartisan proposal, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.
A bipartisan infrastructure plan costing a little over $1 trillion, only about a fourth of what Biden initially proposed, has been gaining support in the U.S. Senate, but disputes continued on Sunday over how it should be funded.
"The president looks forward to getting more details. He'll probably be talking to, welcoming some members to the White House over the next couple of days, and we'll go from there," Psaki told "CBS This Morning."
Twenty-one of the 100 U.S. senators - including 11 Republicans, nine Democrats and one independent who caucuses with Democrats - are working on the framework to rebuild roads, bridges and other traditional infrastructure that sources said would cost $1.2 trillion over eight years.
"The president is eager to continue those discussions and see if we can make big progress this week," Psaki said.
Biden, seeking to fuel economic growth after the pandemic, had initially proposed about $4 trillion be spent on a broader range of infrastructure that included fighting climate change and providing care for children and the elderly.
The White House trimmed the offer to about $1.7 trillion in talks with senators in a bid to win Republican support in the closely divided U.S. Senate.
"He has already come down quite a bit, and in his initial proposal from his initial number so that's a sign that he's willing to compromise," Psaki said.
Biden is also looking to work on a couple of legislative tracks to push through top Democratic initiatives, including climate change measures, she said.
"I think the question here is, what can we agree on, Democrats and Republicans?" Psaki said.
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Lambert and Peter Graff