Republican West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito accused White House officials Tuesday of walking back an initial agreement she had with President Joe Biden on an infrastructure package.
Biden “very clearly” agreed to “$1 trillion over 8 years and you can include baseline spending. Now, it was walked back by his staff shortly several days later yes, that was true. We were writing to what the president said he would negotiate to,” Capito told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Tuesday.
Baier then pressed Capito on if she believed there was a “disconnect” between Biden and his staff.
“He did mention those specifics that I mentioned before,” Capito responded. “There was subsequent conversations with the staff where it was made clear this has to be all new.”
Capito announced earlier Tuesday that her negotiations with Biden were ending without an agreement. Biden will shift his attention to a bipartisan group led by Republican Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Capito described the news as “disappointing.”
“I was in the midst of negotiating with the president on behalf of Republicans in a robust bipartisan agreement that we were hoping to get to. You know, if there is something else out there that looks better, sometimes that’s a distraction,” she told Baier. (RELATED: Biden Rejects Infrastructure Offer From Senate Republicans)
Republicans have previously suggested that Biden’s staffers play an outsized role in policy-making and negotiations. Chief of Staff Ron Klain in particular is reportedly known as “Prime Minister Klain” because of his involvement in negotiations with Republicans. The nickname “plays into the theme of Biden not really running the show here,” a staffer to Republican Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell said, according to The Hill.
Republicans “believe the president truly does want to work with Republicans and tends to want to govern in a way that would be a little more consultative or cooperative, in the middle, but his staff is driving him hard left,” Wyoming Sen. John Thune added.
Capito suggested that the infrastructure bill, dubbed the American Jobs Plan, will go to reconciliation.
Reconciliation would allow Democrats to include “massive tax hikes on middle Americans, on farmers, on small businesses… And they are going to include human infrastructure, massive electric vehicle vouchers, other [things that are] extraneous [to] what I think a physical core infrastructure bill will be. I expect that’s the direction that they will go in July,” she said.