President Biden is scheduled on Wednesday to meet with Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, a Republican leading talks on a bipartisan infrastructure package, as negotiations reach a critical juncture.
Two months after Mr. Biden introduced his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, the administration has signaled that it is ready to move on from bipartisan negotiations barring significant developments this week.
While Republicans and the administration have exchanged offers in recent weeks, a wide gulf still remains over the scope, the size and how to finance what could be one of the largest single federal investments in infrastructure in American history. Some Democrats are ready to abandon the negotiations, as they are reluctant to narrow their ambitions to accommodate what could be just a handful of Republican votes.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg set a deadline of sorts for negotiations to bear fruit, saying on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that “a clear direction” was needed by the time Congress returns on June 7 from a Memorial Day recess.
Ms. Capito, who has been doggedly pursuing a deal with the White House for weeks, struck an optimistic tone about the state of the negotiations over the weekend.
“I think we can get to real compromise, absolutely, because we’re both still in the game,” Ms. Capito said on Fox News. “We realize this is not easy. I think we bring every idea that’s on the table into the negotiations to see how we can achieve this and get it across the threshold.”
Last week, Senate Republicans made a counteroffer that included roughly $257 billion in new funding for roads, bridges and other public works projects. Their overall $928 billion proposal consisted mostly of funding for expected maintenance of existing programs, with new spending largely financed with unspent coronavirus relief funds and increased user fees for drivers.
But Mr. Biden and White House officials have panned using funds from the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package for infrastructure investments. Mr. Biden has proposed raising taxes on corporations and wealthy taxpayers to finance the package, which would involve rolling back some of the tax cuts Republicans pushed through in 2017.
Democrats have also taken initial steps toward beginning the fast-track budget reconciliation process, which would allow them to pass an infrastructure package without Republican support. They used the maneuver earlier this year to muscle the pandemic aid package through both chambers.
The gun control organization backed by Michael R. Bloomberg will for the second time in four months begin an advertising campaign aimed at pressuring Republican senators to back expanding and strengthening background checks for gun buyers.
Everytown for Gun Safety will begin airing $500,000 worth of television and digital advertisements Wednesday evening in Alaska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas, as well as on national cable television, the organization said.
An official with the group said there was optimism that Republican senators, including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John Cornyn of Texas, might support background checks and other gun control measures.
Mr. Cornyn told NBC News last week that he was discussing background checks legislation with Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a Democrat who has led the party’s gun control efforts since joining the Senate in the wake of the 2012 massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
The ads are also targeting Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, who are both retiring following the 2022 elections.
All four Republican senators voted against the 2013 gun control legislation sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, and Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania. That proposal had support from a majority of the 100-member Senate but failed to advance because Republicans denied it the 60 votes necessary to bypass a filibuster.
As American mass shootings continue unabated, Republicans in Congress have offered little indication they are willing to support universal background checks for gun purchases. During an earlier gun control push in 2013, leading Democrats negotiated for weeks with Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a conservative Republican who ultimately voted against the proposal.
Two of the four Everytown advertisements feature Texans shooting shotguns at clay targets. The other two show the police chief and sheriff from Columbia, S.C., a city whose mayor, Steve Benjamin, is a longtime ally of Mr. Bloomberg. The advertisements do not mention any of the Republican senators by name.
A century after a white mob destroyed a vibrant African-American community in Tulsa, Okla., torching hundreds of homes and indiscriminately shooting people in the streets, President Biden told a crowd of survivors and their families that the story of the massacre “would be known in full view.”
It was the first time a president had visited the area to address what happened 100 years ago in Greenwood, the African-American community in Tulsa, that was the site of one of the worst outbreaks of racist violence in American history but one that went largely ignored in history books.
“For much too long, the history of what took place here was told in silence,” Mr. Biden told the crowd. “While darkness can hide much, it erases nothing.”
Mr. Biden, who has made racial equity and justice central themes of his presidency, was there to shed light on a painful part of the country’s history, by recalling in detail the horror that occurred between May 31 and June 1 in 1921, when angry whites descended on Greenwood, a prosperous part of Tulsa known as Black Wall Street, killing as many as 300 people and destroying more than 1,250 homes.
“My fellow Americans, this was not a riot,” Mr. Biden said, as people in the crowd rose to their feet. “This was a massacre.”
A man was strapped to a pickup truck and dragged through the street, the president said. The bodies of a murdered family were draped over the fence outside of their home. An older couple were shot while praying.
“We do ourselves no favors by pretending none of this ever happened,” Mr. Biden told the crowd in Tulsa. “We should know the good, the bad, everything. That’s what great nations do. They come to terms with their dark sides.”
Mr. Biden’s visit was also intended to highlight steps his administration is taking to close the wealth gap between Black and white people in the United States, even as activists criticized him for not going far enough to correct historical wrongs and put the disadvantaged on equal footing.
He announced several initiatives to reduce racial disparities, including a pledge to boost federal contracts to minority-owned businesses by 50 percent and a rollback of two Trump-era actions that have hamstrung fair housing laws.
Before he delivered remarks, Mr. Biden met privately with survivors of the massacre, each between the ages of 101 and 107, whom he mentioned throughout his speech.