- A group of Senate Republicans introduced a $928 billion infrastructure counteroffer to Biden.
- However, only a quarter appears to be new spending beyond what's already been authorized by Congress.
- It's unlikely to satisfy Democrats and the White House, with a top progressive saying it had a "loser-y" idea.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Senate Republicans on Thursday made a $928 billion infrastructure counteroffer to the White House in a proposal that only modestly increases new federal spending compared to what the Biden administration is seeking to overhaul the economy.
GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia has spearheaded the working group through the month. It also includes Republicans Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, and Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
"Senate Republicans continue to negotiate in good faith," Capito said at a news conference. "We're trying to reach that common goal of a bipartisan infrastructure plan."
The new plan includes the following provisions, which is largely concentrated on physical infrastructure:
- $506 billion for roads and bridges
- $98 billion for public transit systems
- $72 billion for water systems
- $65 billion for broadband
- $56 billion for airports
- $46 billion for passenger and freight rail
- $22 billion for ports and waterways
It also includes federal money for water storage and safety.
However, the offer is unlikely to satisfy the Biden administration and congressional Democrats because only around quarter of it - $257 billion - is new government spending beyond what's already been authorized by Congress. Their past proposal to the administration featured $225 billion in new spending, per the White House.
Capito and her GOP group envision repurposing stimulus money from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law passed in March to finance infrastructure upgrades. The White House panned that possibility in recent days.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a key progressive, strongly criticized the GOP plan in an MSNBC interview saying it had a "loser-y" idea to redirect federal money that's already devoted to other sectors of the economy.
Democrats are also pressing to merge into their economic plans what they view as human infrastructure, including new domestic initiatives in healthcare, education, and an expansion of the safety net.
Both sides are clashing on the size and scope of an infrastructure plan, and their differences are unlikely to be resolved by the latest Republican offer. They still sharply disagree on how to finance it. Democrats want to roll back the 2017 tax law and raise corporate taxes, a red-line for the GOP.
The White House put $1.7 trillion on the table in new spending during the negotiations, now in their third week. Their offer was a $500 billion reduction from the original $2.3 trillion package introduced last month, though some of that funding was moved to other bills in Congress.
That proposal includes new money to upgrade roads and bridges, broadband, domestic manufacturing, and in-home elder care among a slew of other initiatives.