WASHINGTON — In a major concession to Republicans, President Joe Biden has offered to no longer raise the corporate tax rate to pay for a bipartisan infrastructure package and instead work to ensure corporations don’t exploit tax loopholes.
Biden’s latest infrastructure counteroffer, confirmed by a source familiar with the talks, would keep intact 2017 tax cuts that Republicans have called a “red-line” in their negotiations with the White House.
The revamped plan would no longer raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. It would instead seek to beef up tax enforcement on the country’s wealthiest earnerers and ensure the largest corporations – some of which have avoided paying any taxes – pay at least a minimum of 15%, the source said.
Biden’s counteroffer, first reported by The Washington Post, was made during a one-on-one meeting Wednesday with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va., who is leading negotiations for Republicans. Biden, who is visiting Rehoboth Beach, Del., on Thursday, and Capito said they plan to regroup on Friday.
Despite the concessions, the source said Biden remains committed to his overall position on former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, which the president has blasted as a tax-giveaway to the rich.
It was not immediately clear whether Biden is willing to reduce the price tag of his plan as part of his effort to court Republican support.
Biden already reduced the cost of his American Jobs Plan to $1.7 trillion from $2.25 trillion last month to get closer to an amount Republicans could support. In their counter proposal last week, Republicans upped their offer to $928 billion from $586 billion, meaning the two sides are more than $700 billion apart.
In their counteroffer, Republicans proposed repurposing COVID-19 rescue funds already approved and user fees to pay for infrastructure – ideas the White House immediately rejected.
Republicans have said they are only willing to pay for physical infrastructure such as repairs to roads, bridges and airports as well as broadband expansion. But Biden has stayed committed to “social infrastructure” such as proposing $400 billion to overhaul caregiving for the elderly and disabled.
The White House last week said the Biden administration also remains “concerned” the GOP counteroffer has little or no funding for fixing Veterans Affairs hospitals, rail, repairing transit systems, replacing the nation’s lead pipes and investing in clean energy jobs.
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.