In the latest instalment of the White House versus Fox News, press secretary Jen Psaki agreed to call the president’s negotiations on infrastructure the “Art of the Deal” with one correction – “for working people”.
Ms Psaki announced on Friday that Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion spending plan had been reduced to $1.7 trillion in the “art of seeking common ground”.
Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked if at some point those negotiations become the “art of the deal”, referencing Donald Trump’s famous 1987 bestseller of the same name.
“I don’t know, you’re the professional here Peter, you’re the TV star, you know? What’s the Fox chyron going to be?” Ms Psaki asked.
The press secretary and reporter have a history of rhetorical repartee in the briefing room as both joust with various “gotcha” questions and ripostes.
When Doocy said the “art of seeking common ground” takes up a lot of characters, Ms Psaki agreed they’d be ok with calling it the “art of the deal”.
“I think that’s a headline,” Doocy said.
"Well there you go, art of a different kind of deal – a deal for the working people. Glad we could work that out,” Ms Psaki replied.
While the two negotiated at the podium on a headline, Republicans and Democrats weren’t as close to reaching an agreement on the White House’s infrastructure proposal.
A person familiar with the talks said on Friday said that Senate Republicans do not view the new $1.7 trillion plan a significant improvement from the earlier $2.3 trillion proposals, according to Reuters.
Ms Psaki told reporters the counteroffer was made during meetings with the White House team, including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and the Republican spearheading negotiations, Senator Shelley Moore Capito.
The $600bn cost reductions would come from moving research and development funding, small businesses and supply chain improvements to separate legislation, reducing funding for rural broadband by $35bn, and reducing funding for “roads, bridges, and major infrastructure projects,” down by $39bn.
“The counteroffer also reflects our view that the Republican offer excludes entirely some proposals that are key to our competitiveness, key to investments in clean energy and in industries of the future, and rebuilding our workforce, including critical investments in our power sector, building and construction, workforce training, veterans hospital construction and the care economy,” Ms Psaki said.
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