President Joe Biden defended Monday his bi-partisan meeting at the White House on infrastructure, despite Republicans dismissing the event as more empty “window dressing.”
Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Deb Fischer (R-NB) met with Biden, as well as Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Garret Graves (R-LA). Four Congressional Democrats also joined the meeting.
When reporters asked about Republican criticism of the meeting, Biden replied, “I’m not big on window dressing, if you’ve observed.”
But at this point, Biden remains unwilling to publicly offer any major compromise on his multi-trillion-dollar spending plan proposed as “infrastructure.”
“I’m prepared to negotiate as to how — the extent of the — my infrastructure project, as well as how we pay for it,” Biden said before the meeting began.
Biden acknowledged Republicans had disputed whether the majority of the spending in the bill was actually infrastructure.
“It’s going to get down to what we call infrastructure,” he said, adding “It’s not just roads, bridges, highways, et cetera.”
Biden’s proposal only spends roughly 25 percent on water systems, power grids, highways, roads, bridges, airports, broadband internet, and ports.
The White House said the president had “a good exchange of ideas,” during the meeting and “asked for their feedback and follow-up on proposals.”
Sen. Deb Fischer said after the meeting she proposed Biden go “segment by segment” on infrastructure.
“There’s quite a distance that we need to address,” she said to reporters.
Sen. Roger Wicker said that Biden resisted the idea of spending less money and told the president that undoing the Republican tax cuts would make his plan an “impossible sell.”
He also disputed the president’s description of America as a “declining superpower.”
“He says the U.S. is a declining superpower. We are no longer no. 1,” Wicker said. “I just have a fundamental disagreement with that.”