Shaheen, other ex-governors, mayors meet with Biden

April 19, 2021

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden was open to breaking up his massive infrastructure bill into smaller pieces and finding alternatives to raising corporate income tax rates to pay for it, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said Monday.

Shaheen was part of a 10-person, bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers that met with Biden for 90 minutes in the Oval Office, all of them former governors or mayors before being elected to the U.S. Senate or House brought them to Washington.

The Senate invitees along with Shaheen included ex-Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, former Maine independent Gov. Angus King, ex-North Dakota GOP Gov. John Hoeven and Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who briefly ran against Biden for President in 2020 before jumping into and winning a Senate race back home.

U.S. House members at the meeting included Republican Congressmen Carlos Gimenez who had been mayor of Miami-Dade County, Fla., and Kay Granger who served as mayor of Fort Worth, Texas.

In 2008, Shaheen became the first woman in U.S. history to be elected both governor and senator.

Biden spent much of the time seeking ideas from GOP members of the group, Shaheen said.

"He sounded flexible about what he was willing to consider," Shaheen said during a telephone interview.

Two smaller bills making headway

A Republican colleague told Biden there's strong bipartisan support for two smaller infrastructure bills already making progress on Capitol Hill, one a federal highway bill and the other that would pay for water treatment projects.

"The point was we could add to those later, but these are two bills that are ready to move," Shaheen said.

The group talked about other ways to pay for the bill, such as closing federal tax loopholes and offering more incentives for multinational companies to bring their jobs and federal tax base from overseas, she said.

While national GOP leaders have panned Biden's bill as too expensive and too big a tax increase, Shaheen said she’s been hopeful the two parties can ultimately come together on a package.

"I went in feeling that way, very optimistic that common ground could be found. The bipartisan group that worked on the COVID relief packages have continued to meet and we have expanded our numbers," Shaheen said.

"I think everyone left the meeting feeling it was a good discussion, a real solid starting point. This was a good-faith effort."

By:  Kevin Landrigan
Source: Union Leader