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GOP leaders speak out on infrastructure after White House meeting

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speak to reporters outside the White House after a meeting with President Joe Biden, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., leaves a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2021, the day after meeting at the White House with President Joe Biden and Republican leaders on infrastructure. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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UPDATED 1:15 PM PT – Thursday, May 13, 2021

Top Republicans said they hope to find middle ground on some of the White House’s top priority issues, including Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal and the American Families Plan.

On Wednesday, Biden sat down with the top four lawmakers in Congress, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) along with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

While speaking to reporters after the meeting, McConnell said he and other congressional leaders agreed to work on defining what infrastructure is. The Kentucky lawmaker stated, “I think I’m safe in saying there is certainly a bipartisan desire to get an outcome.”

GOP lawmakers have raised issues about the Democrats’ proposal because it includes items unrelated to infrastructure. Additionally, Biden has attempted to get Republicans to agree to raise corporate taxes, but McConnell asserted President Trump’s 2017 tax cuts will not be up for negotiation.

“We’re not interested in reopening the 2017 tax bill, we both made that clear to the president,” stated the Republican. “That’s our red line.”

McConnell went on to point out that in February of 2020, the U.S. had the best economy it’s had in 50 years, which he believes is on part of the tax bill. The senator suggested he prefers to craft proposals through a collaborative process in which Republicans have a say.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speak to reporters outside the White House after a meeting with President Joe Biden, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speak to reporters outside the White House after a meeting with President Joe Biden, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Meanwhile, McCarthy called the meeting productive with both sides of the aisle wanting to strengthen the economy. The House minority leader also said getting things back to normal will help turn the economy around while speaking out on recent inflation concerns.

“But what I really want to work on is making sure, turning this economy around and getting people back to work, back to school, back to health and back to normal,” he stated. “You just had the biggest tax increase you’ve had in more than 10 years and it hit you already.”

Biden is expected to meet with six Republican senators who are leading GOP negotiation efforts on Thursday.

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