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WASHINGTON — Efforts to strike a bipartisan deal on an infrastructure package are in jeopardy after Senate Republicans rejected a smaller $1.7 trillion counteroffer Friday from President Joe Biden's administration, exposing wide gaps that remained in negotiations.
The setback, following weeks of talks that accelerated in recent days, raises major doubts over Biden's goal to pass a sweeping infrastructure bill with support from both Democrats and Republicans.
In his counteroffer cutting an original $2.3 trillion package, Biden proposed minor concessions to remove funding for research and development, supply chains, manufacturing and small businesses. Yet it would keep tax increases that Republicans have said they won't support under any circumstances.
Other changes in Biden's American Jobs Plan counterproposal include reducing $100 billion for broadband expansion to $65 billion, matching the amount outlined in a $586 billion plan from Senate Republicans, and reducing funds for roads and bridges.
"In our view, this is the art of seeking common ground," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Friday's press briefing. "This proposal exhibits a willingness to come down in size, giving on some areas that are important to the president ... while also staying firm in areas that are most vital to building our infrastructure and industries of the future."
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