Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, of West Virginia, the head Republican negotiator, said President Joe Biden had spoken to her by phone Tuesday and ended the discussions.
“I spoke with the president this afternoon, and he ended our infrastructure negotiations,” Moore Capito said in a statement.
“Throughout our negotiations, we engaged respectfully, fully, and very candidly—delivering several serious counteroffers that each represented the largest infrastructure investment Republicans have put forth,” she said.
Tuesday’s announcement indicated the end of more than a month of serious debates between Republican senators, the president, and their respective staffers.
With no impressive deal in sight, Biden on Tuesday reached out to three senators who are a portion of a bipartisan group that has been silently working on a backup infrastructure plan.
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., tweeted that Biden called him Tuesday and “brought up flood resiliency and energy provisions” that would promote his state.
“Strongly support [Capito’s] efforts. Any infrastructure package should and must be bipartisan,” he wrote.
Biden also called two centrist Democrats, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
The president “urged them to continue their work with other Democrats and Republicans to develop a bipartisan proposal that he hopes will be more responsive to the country’s pressing infrastructure needs,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
Biden is expected to depart for Europe on Wednesday, but Psaki said he designated key Cabinet members and White House supporters to meet with the senators while he is moving.
Other senators working on the alternative plan include Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Mitt Romney, R-Utah. The lawmakers produced the proposal designed to meet on Tuesday afternoon.
The group intends to win over as many as 20 centrist senators to support their plan once it is concluded.
While it is not yet clear what that final plan would include, it could cost just under $900 billion, according to reports. The price tag would be about half of Biden’s last $1.7 trillion offer to the GOP.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that the bipartisan group of senators “are trying to put something together that might be closer to what the president needs” than Capito’s offer.
While Capito last sent Biden an offer nearing $1 trillion, only a portion of it was actually new spending, and the rest was money repurposed from other federal agencies.