REPORT: Top White House Officials Have Been Quietly Meeting With Republicans Behind Counter Jobs Plan

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Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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Senior White House officials have been quietly meeting with Republican senators who released a counterproposal to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and jobs plan, Axios reported Tuesday.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti and legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell have been meeting in-person and over the phone with the authors of the $468 billion Republican infrastructure bill unveiled last week, Axios reported. Republican Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and John Hoeven of North Dakota have both met with the Biden officials, according to Axios. (RELATED: REPORT: Biden To Announce High-Profile Ambassadorships For Friends, Donors, Past Staff)

“Administration officials have been on the Hill, even now, talking to Republican members. It has been on a less-formal basis. But they’re good discussions. The details are being filled in,” Wicker told Axios. “I think they’re open to talking about and understanding what our proposal is and how we got to where we got.”

Biden held a meeting with bipartisan members of Congress on April 19 in which he told Republicans he is “prepared to compromise” on the bill. (RELATED: Here’s Biden’s Strategy To Build GOP Support For His Massive Spending Plan)

Republicans present at the meeting included Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, Florida Rep. Carlos Giménez, and Texas Rep. Kay Granger. Independent Maine Rep. Angus King was also present along with five Democratic senators and representatives. Republicans have criticized Biden’s infrastructure plan for allegedly having little to do with roads and bridges, arguing that it is instead a disguise for unrelated Democratic party priorities. Biden and Democrats argue the definition of “infrastructure” ought to be expanded to include welfare, climate initiatives, and other programs.

“He is very open to hearing different ideas, hearing different ways to get these — these big ideas he’s put forward; this historic investment to modernize our infrastructure, create millions of jobs forward,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier in April. “The mechanisms for that, the construction of it, the pieces that it could flow through — he’s very open to what that looks like.”