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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 5/16/21

Biden gives GOP a shock, tells them they have to actually make policy to stay in the game

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It was all happy talk from both the White House and Senate Republicans coming out of Thursday's infrastructure meeting, with President Biden stressing that everyone was working in "good faith" and telling reporter that he was "prepared to compromise." For the Republicans' part, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the lead in negotiations for the GOP, said it was "very productive" and a "more than courteous give-and-take."

Biden gave the Republicans homework, which has be a shock to their systems. Capito said after the meeting: "The President has asked us to come back and rework and offer so that he can then react to that and then re-offer to us." She added that "more detail is what we need to get them so they can react more specifically."

Yes, more detail. For the past four years, Republicans have been talking and talking and talking about infrastructure without actually doing anything. The chances that they went into that room Thursday with anything more concrete that "no corporate tax hikes" is nil.

Scratch that, they do have another idea.

Yep, Republicans want to pay for infrastructure rebuilding by making the poor schlubs who have to drive to work every day pay more: user fees, toll roads, gas taxes. That hits low- and middle-income people disproportionately harder, and they already face higher transportation costs relative to their incomes.

Astoundingly some Democrats are down with that, like Virginia's Mark Warner, who also happens to be the second richest senator after Mitt Romney. "User fees have to be part of the mix," he told Axios this week. Bad look, senator. As Kerry Eleveld says, "That is about the dumbest position Democrats could adopt as a message heading into 2022."

Luckily there are less well-heeled Democrats around to set him straight. Like President Biden. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki reiterated Friday that user fees are not on the table for Biden. He will not break his pledge not to raise taxes on people making less than $400,000.

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