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Mitch McConnell calls rollback of 2017 tax cuts to fund infrastructure ‘red line’ #englishheadline

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Republican leaders and President Joe Biden clashed over how to pay for an infrastructure plan, even as both sides kept open the possibility of reaching one after a White House meeting.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell laid down a marker on rolling back elements of the Trump tax cuts to pay for an infrastructure package – calling it a ‘red line’ in remarks at the White House Wednesday.

Biden has called for rolling back corporate tax rate cuts and setting them at 28 per cent, rather than the lower 21 per cent set by the Trump tax cuts in 2017. He has also called for hiking the top income tax rate and capital gains tax rates to pay for other programs. 

‘We’re not interested in reopening the 2017 tax bill,’ said McConnell, standing alongside House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy outside the White House after an Oval Office meeting with Biden. 

‘We both made clear to the president. That’s our red line,’ McConnell said.

McCarthy called the meeting ‘productive,’ then said he brought up rising gas prices, the border crisis, jobs, and getting millions of kids back to school – all challenging areas where the parties have clashed. 

With markets tanking Wednesday over a new inflation report, McConnell called it a ‘direct result of flooding the zone with an extraordinary amount of money’ – a shot at Biden’s $1.9 trillion infrastructure plan (although Congress passed other big laws last year that President Trump signed).

McConnell said of state and local governments: ‘They’ve never seen anything like what’s headed their way with this mountain of money that’s coming in.’

Then he added: ‘Hopefully we can capture some of that to make this infrastructure package go forward in a way that everybody would like to see it go forward.’

It was not clear if he was talking about a recisions package of money already appropriated by Congress. 

‘I think there’s an opportunity that we can work together on infrastructure,’ said McCarthy. Then he added: ‘as long as [it’s] not anything about tax increases, and it’s dealing with infrastructure.  

Biden said he was ‘encouraged’ by what he called a ‘solid meeting with the Republican leader in the House, and with Mitch’ in reference to McConnell. Their talk came hours after the House GOP deposed Liz Cheney as its conference chair.

‘I’m encouraged that there is room to have a compromise on a bipartisan bill that’s solid and significant and the means by which to pay for it without dropping all of the burden on middle class and working class people.’  

Then Biden brought up rising gas prices, and referenced ‘user fees’ touted by Republicans. 

‘If everything is paid for by a user fee, then the burden falls on working class folks who are having trouble,’ he said. ‘It matters if you make $40,000 a year.’

Earlier, as the meeting was underway, Biden joked that that partisanship is a ‘snap’ as he met for the first time with the Big Four congressional leadership to try and reach a ‘compromise’ on infrastructure.

At the top of the meeting, Biden told reporters gathered for a quick photo op: ‘We’re going to talk a lot about infrastructure today to see if there’s any way we can reach a compromise that gets the people’s work done and is within the bounds of everyone agreeing.’

‘That’s the purpose of this meeting, not much more to say right now. We’re going to get going, that’s it,’ he wrapped up.

‘How do you expect to do that, sir?’ one reporter was able to get out before being escorted from the Oval Office.

‘Easy – just snap my fingers it’ll happen,’ Biden jested and snapped.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined Biden to ‘discuss policy areas of mutual agreement,’ according to the White House preview of the meeting.

McCarthy was joining the meeting immediately after dethroning Liz Cheney from her Republican leadership post for refusing to back Donald Trump’s claims Biden’s election win was illegitimate. 

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris sat down with the Big Four congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday. From left to right: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Harris, Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris sat down with the Big Four congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday. From left to right: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Harris, Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

'It's a snap!': Biden joked that it would be a 'easy' to reach some sort of bipartisan agreement on infrastructure. 'Easy – just snap my fingers it'll happen,' Biden jested and snapped his fingers when asked about his approach to bipartisanship

‘It’s a snap!’: Biden joked that it would be a ‘easy’ to reach some sort of bipartisan agreement on infrastructure. ‘Easy – just snap my fingers it’ll happen,’ Biden jested and snapped his fingers when asked about his approach to bipartisanship

The White House said Biden invited the group to 'discuss policy areas of mutual agreement' as he tries to garner bipartisan support for his $4 trillion spending proposals on infrastructure and so-called 'human infrastructure'

The White House said Biden invited the group to ‘discuss policy areas of mutual agreement’ as he tries to garner bipartisan support for his $4 trillion spending proposals on infrastructure and so-called ‘human infrastructure’

Schumer and Pelosi – members of the president's own party – have spoken with Biden several times since he took office

Schumer and Pelosi – members of the president’s own party – have spoken with Biden several times since he took office 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (left) joined the meeting immediately after holding the vote to oust GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney from her post for not supporting Trump election fraud claims

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (left) joined the meeting immediately after holding the vote to oust GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney from her post for not supporting Trump election fraud claims

‘When I ran, I said I wasn’t going to be a Democratic president – I was going to be a president for all Americans,’ Biden said before the meeting. ‘What the bottom line here is, we’re going to see whether we can reach some consensus on a compromise on moving forward.’

Biden’s spokesperson Jen Psaki also defended Biden’s ability to work with both parties – even after McCarthy has made it clear he prefers Cheney’s replacement be New York Representative Elise Stefanik, who objected to the election results and maintains that stance.

‘How can the president work with Kevin McCarthy who’s poised to anoint to a position of leadership of the Republican Conference someone who does not believe in the legitimacy of the last election?’ NBC News’ Peter Alexander asked the White House press secretary during a briefing Wednesday.

‘The president is no stranger to working with people who he disagrees with or who he has massive fundamental disagreements with,’ Psaki said.

‘The facts are on our side,’ she continued, ‘and more than 80 judges across the country threw out lawsuits attempting to overturn the outcome of the election.’ 

MCarthy is helping clear the way for Cheney's replacement to be New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who on January 6 objected to the election results

MCarthy is helping clear the way for Cheney’s replacement to be New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who on January 6 objected to the election results

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended Biden reaching out to McCarthy despite him backing election fraud claims. 'The president is no stranger to working with people who he disagrees with or who he has massive fundamental disagreements with,' she said

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended Biden reaching out to McCarthy despite him backing election fraud claims. ‘The president is no stranger to working with people who he disagrees with or who he has massive fundamental disagreements with,’ she said

‘What the president believes his role is is to lead by example and to offer an alternative of leadership to the American people, which is reaching his hand across the aisle, offering to work with members of both parties on addressing issues the American people have concerns about.’

The briefing with reporters took place in conjunction to Biden’s meeting with the Big Four.

Biden is seeking to use his first time sitting down with the top four congressional leaders to garner bipartisan support for his massive infrastructure proposals, which includes nearly $4 trillion in new spending on real and so-called ‘human infrastructure’.

Biden has also instructed Congress to send him a deal on police reform.

This is the first time the Big Four have gone to the White House to sit down with the president since the disastrous meeting with Donald Trump in October 2019. That meeting quickly devolved into a tense back-and-forth between Pelosi and Trump resulting in an infamous photo with the Speaker angrily pointing her finger at the then-president.

Biden regularly speaks with Pelosi and Schumer – members of his own party – but has not yet met with GOP leadership.

While McConnell and Biden’s seemingly cordial relationship spans decades in Congress, McCarthy’s rapport with the president is more of a mystery.

The minority leader arrives at the White House just after leading the vote to oust Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney from her GOP Conference chair post for refusing to fall in line with the party backing Donald Trump’s claims the election was stolen and ‘rigged’ against him.

Cheney was one of the 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6 Capitol attack.

In a quick voice vote Wednesday morning, scheduled and spearheaded by McCarthy, Cheney was booted from her No. 3 position among House Republicans. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arrives at the Capitol Wednesday, May 12 ahead of the vote to remove Liz Cheney from leadership

Former GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney speaks to reporters after she was voted out of the No. 3 House post in her party

Cheney was voted out of her No. 3 leadership position further solidifying the party’s belief they need Donald Trump to win back the majority in the House in 2022. Cheney said: ‘I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again, is anywhere near the Oval Office’

The vote w

McCarthy scheduled the meeting to boot Cheney from her No. 3 spot in House leadership, which happened rather swiftly with a voice vote – meaning there is no record showing which way the Republican representatives voted

She says her new mission is to make sure Trump ‘never again is anywhere near the Oval Office.’ 

Biden is aware his best chances of clinching a deal in Congress is through rank-and-file members, and not in party leadership, which could be why he has prioritized meetings with non-leadership members since taking office.

The White House legislative affairs team, according to NPR, has conducted more than 500 phone calls or meetings with lawmakers and Hill staffers regarding Biden’s job plans.

This is the first time Biden is inviting McConnell and McCarthy to the White House.

The president’s massive American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan equates to nearly $4 trillion in new spending, and will be mostly funded through individual and corporate tax hikes.

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