President Joe Biden cut off negotiations Tuesday for a bipartisan deal on infrastructure with a group of six Senate Republicans, shifting his focus to a coalition of moderate senators from both parties to keep hopes alive for a compromise.
The breakdown came as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moved ahead on planning for a parliamentary maneuver called reconciliation as a backup if those talks also fail. It would allow Democrats to approve legislation with a simple majority and no Republican support.
After weeks of meetings but little progress, Biden halted negotiations with the Republican group during a phone call with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the lead negotiator, before he leaves Wednesday morning for a trip to Europe.
“I spoke with the president this afternoon, and he ended our infrastructure negotiations,” Capito said, adding that she and fellow Republicans had been under the impression their new counter proposal met the president’s criteria that it total around $1 trillion.