Live Updates: Republicans to Counter Biden’s Infrastructure Plan

Here’s what you need to know: A closed bridge outside Charleston, W.Va. A group of Republicans, led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, unveiled an infrastructure counterproposal on Thursday.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times Senate Republicans on Thursday proposed spending less that one seventh what President Biden has requested for an expansive infrastructure initiative, countering his latest $1.7 trillion offer with a blueprint that would provide $257 billion in new money for roads, bridges and other public works projects. The narrow scope of the plan, which Republicans said would amount to a total of $928 billion over eight years when paired with existing programs, highlighted the vast divide between the two parties on how to structure and finance an infrastructure program, and the long odds that a bipartisan negotiation will yield a compromise that can become law. In addition to the nearly $1.4 trillion gulf in new spending between their plan and the president’s, the Republicans also suggested paying for much of their proposal by repurposing funds from the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief law, an approach that White House officials have rejected. Mr. Biden has proposed large tax increases on corporations and wealthy taxpayers to pay for his much larger package, a prospect that Republicans have refused to consider. The quartet of Republicans who proposed the latest plan, led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, said it proved that their party was negotiating in good faith on an infrastructure deal. They had initially presented a $568 billion plan for five years’ worth of overall spending, which also contained only a fraction of new spending; the outline presented on Thursday included about $70 billion more. “We believe that this counteroffer delivers on what President Biden told us in the Oval Office,” Ms. Capito said, referring to a private meeting the senators attended with the president earlier this month. “It sticks to the core infrastructure features.” But it was clear that major difference remained. Republicans again called Mr. Biden’s proposals to undo elements of the 2017 tax cut a nonstarter, while the White House has resisted repurposing unspent funds and increasing user fees to pay for the plan. Optimism for a bipartisan deal on infrastructure has dwindled despite an exchange of offers between the administration and Republicans, who have continued to object to Mr. Biden’s ambitions for the scope and size of a package. White House officials have expressed frustration with lawmakers’ reluctance to significantly increase the amount of new spending. Several Democrats, wary of losing valuable time to act on their key priorities, are urging leaders to abandon the bipartisan talks and use the fast-track budget reconciliation process to advance the legislation, protecting it from a filibuster and allowing it to pass with a simple majority. A bipartisan group of senators is also quietly discussing their own proposal as a fallback option should talks between Republican senators and the White House collapse. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee also unanimously advanced on Wednesday a $304 billion reauthorization transportation bill, an effort that Ms. Capito said was “a major anchor” for a bipartisan accord. President Biden’s budget request calls for the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times President Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget on Friday that would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II, while running deficits above $1.3 trillion throughout the next decade. Mr. Biden’s first budget request as president calls for the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year, and for total spending to rise to $8.2 trillion by 2031. The growth is driven by Mr. Biden’s two-part agenda to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and substantially expand the social safety net, contained in his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, along with other planned increases in discretionary spending. The proposal shows the sweep of Mr. Biden’s ambitions to wield government power to help more Americans attain the comforts of a middle-class life and to lift U.S. industry to better compete globally in an economy the administration believes will be dominated by a race to reduce energy emissions and combat climate change. Mr. Biden’s plan to fund his agenda by raising taxes on corporations and high earners would begin to shrink budget deficits in the 2030s. Administration officials have said the jobs and families plans would be fully offset by tax increases over the course of 15 years, which the budget request backs up. In the meantime, the United States would run significant deficits as it borrows money to finance his plans. Under Mr. Biden’s proposal, the federal budget deficit would hit $1.8 trillion in 2022, even as

Live Updates: Republicans to Counter Biden’s Infrastructure Plan
Here’s what you need to know: A closed bridge outside Charleston, W.Va. A group of Republicans, led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, unveiled an infrastructure counterproposal on Thursday.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times Senate Republicans on Thursday proposed spending less that one seventh what President Biden has requested for an expansive infrastructure initiative, countering his latest $1.7 trillion offer with a blueprint that would provide $257 billion in new money for roads, bridges and other public works projects. The narrow scope of the plan, which Republicans said would amount to a total of $928 billion over eight years when paired with existing programs, highlighted the vast divide between the two parties on how to structure and finance an infrastructure program, and the long odds that a bipartisan negotiation will yield a compromise that can become law. In addition to the nearly $1.4 trillion gulf in new spending between their plan and the president’s, the Republicans also suggested paying for much of their proposal by repurposing funds from the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief law, an approach that White House officials have rejected. Mr. Biden has proposed large tax increases on corporations and wealthy taxpayers to pay for his much larger package, a prospect that Republicans have refused to consider. The quartet of Republicans who proposed the latest plan, led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, said it proved that their party was negotiating in good faith on an infrastructure deal. They had initially presented a $568 billion plan for five years’ worth of overall spending, which also contained only a fraction of new spending; the outline presented on Thursday included about $70 billion more. “We believe that this counteroffer delivers on what President Biden told us in the Oval Office,” Ms. Capito said, referring to a private meeting the senators attended with the president earlier this month. “It sticks to the core infrastructure features.” But it was clear that major difference remained. Republicans again called Mr. Biden’s proposals to undo elements of the 2017 tax cut a nonstarter, while the White House has resisted repurposing unspent funds and increasing user fees to pay for the plan. Optimism for a bipartisan deal on infrastructure has dwindled despite an exchange of offers between the administration and Republicans, who have continued to object to Mr. Biden’s ambitions for the scope and size of a package. White House officials have expressed frustration with lawmakers’ reluctance to significantly increase the amount of new spending. Several Democrats, wary of losing valuable time to act on their key priorities, are urging leaders to abandon the bipartisan talks and use the fast-track budget reconciliation process to advance the legislation, protecting it from a filibuster and allowing it to pass with a simple majority. A bipartisan group of senators is also quietly discussing their own proposal as a fallback option should talks between Republican senators and the White House collapse. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee also unanimously advanced on Wednesday a $304 billion reauthorization transportation bill, an effort that Ms. Capito said was “a major anchor” for a bipartisan accord. President Biden’s budget request calls for the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times President Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget on Friday that would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II, while running deficits above $1.3 trillion throughout the next decade. Mr. Biden’s first budget request as president calls for the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year, and for total spending to rise to $8.2 trillion by 2031. The growth is driven by Mr. Biden’s two-part agenda to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and substantially expand the social safety net, contained in his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, along with other planned increases in discretionary spending. The proposal shows the sweep of Mr. Biden’s ambitions to wield government power to help more Americans attain the comforts of a middle-class life and to lift U.S. industry to better compete globally in an economy the administration believes will be dominated by a race to reduce energy emissions and combat climate change. Mr. Biden’s plan to fund his agenda by raising taxes on corporations and high earners would begin to shrink budget deficits in the 2030s. Administration officials have said the jobs and families plans would be fully offset by tax increases over the course of 15 years, which the budget request backs up. In the meantime, the United States would run significant deficits as it borrows money to finance his plans. Under Mr. Biden’s proposal, the federal budget deficit would hit $1.8 trillion in 2022, even as the economy rebounds from the pandemic recession to grow at what the administration predicts would be its fastest annual pace since the early 1980s. It would recede slightly in the following years before growing again to nearly $1.6 trillion by 2031. Total debt held by the public would more than exceed the annual value of economic output, rising to 117 percent of the size of the economy in 2031. By 2024, debt as a share of the economy would rise to its highest level in American history, eclipsing its World War II-era record. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that her agency lacks sufficient resources to oversee an economic recovery that still has “a long road ahead” and called on Congress to provide her with more funds.Credit...Erin Scott for The New York Times Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen warned on Thursday that her agency lacked sufficient resources to oversee an economic recovery that still has “a long road ahead” and called on Congress to provide her with more funds to oversee a sprawling set of relief programs. In testimony before a House appropriations subcommittee, Ms. Yellen expressed confidence that the end of the pandemic recession was in sight, but said that the Treasury Department is facing an overwhelming task in disbursing hundreds of billions of dollars of relief money with the same budget that it had a decade ago. The Treasury Department has been central to the federal government’s response to the health crisis, funneling stimulus payments and aid to millions of Americans, states, cities and businesses. “Our team has done valiant work implementing these programs with the resources at our disposal,” Ms. Yellen said in prepared remarks. “But we cannot continue to be good stewards of this recovery — and tackle the new bodies of work that Congress assigns to us in the years beyond — with a budget that was designed for 2010.” The call for more funding comes as the Biden administration will formally propose a $6 trillion budget on Friday. Ms. Yellen said that Treasury’s Domestic Finance, Economic Policy, and Tax Policy offices have all seen their budgets cut by about 20 percent since 2016, during the Trump administration. She noted that the Internal Revenue Service, which has seen its budget gutted in the last decade, has been responsible for making approximately $800 billion in stimulus payments in the last year and is now getting ready to start making monthly payments of the expanded child tax credit. The White House’s preliminary budget, released in April, asked for $14.9 billion for the Treasury Department, including $13.2 billion for the I.R.S. Making the case for beefing up the I.R.S., Ms. Yellen said that $7 trillion of government tax revenue is likely to fall through the cracks in the next decade because the agency lacks the staff to crack down on tax cheats. Ms. Yellen is expected to face questions from lawmakers on the trajectory of the recovery, the threat of inflation and her remarks earlier this month that interest rates might need to rise as the economy recovers. President Biden will speak about infrastructure spending at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland on Thursday.Credit...Tony Dejak/Associated Press President Biden will make his case for more than $4 trillion in spending on infrastructure and improved social safety net spending in a speech in Cleveland on Thursday, even as he continues sparring with Republicans in Washington over his proposals. Mr. Biden is scheduled to tour the Cuyahoga Community College Manufacturing Technology Center in Cleveland and then deliver remarks on the economy at the college’s Metropolitan Campus. Aides said he will use the moment to pitch his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan and his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. “He’s going to talk about why now is the right moment,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the deputy White House press secretary, said Wednesday. She said Mr. Biden will talk about the need to make “historic generational investments in the foundation of our economy’s strength through the Jobs Plan and the Families Plan.” Aides said the president will use his remarks to directly confront Republicans about their opposition to raising taxes on businesses and the wealthy as a way of paying for the spending and investments that Democrats are pushing for. In the speech, a White House official said, Mr. Biden will frame it as a choice between “giving breaks to corporations and C.E.O.’s” or putting “hundreds of thousands of people to work modernizing our infrastructure.” On Friday, the president is expected to release a $6 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2022 that envisions large deficits throughout the next decade. In Ohio, Mr. Biden is also expected to argue that his administration has already begun to improve the nation’s economic health and output. The community college in Cleveland is the location of the last campaign rally that Mr. Biden was scheduled to have as a presidential candidate in March of 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic forced him to cancel large rallies. Aides said he decided to return to the location to underscore how far the country has come in the 14 months since then. “He’ll talk about how far we’ve come as a country,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said, “because of the actions we’ve taken over the last four months turning the tide on the pandemic, creating 500,000 new jobs each month on average, cutting unemployment claims by more than a third, raising wages.”The argument about the impact of Mr. Biden’s policies on the economy is at the center of the fierce debate in Washington over the president’s proposals. Republicans argue that the president’s agenda is weakening the recovery and will hurt businesses by increasing taxes on businesses and high earners. A group of Republicans released a counterproposal to Mr. Biden’s infrastructure plan on Thursday that includes $928 billion in spending, with little new funding outside of core programs. The White House has said it is open to negotiations but would wait to see the details of the Republican proposal. Fuel holding tanks at Colonial Pipeline’s Dorsey Junction Station in Woodbine, Md. this month.Credit...Drew Angerer/Getty Images The Biden administration will require the nation’s pipeline companies to report to the government any time they are hit with a significant cyberattack, and to create 24-hour emergency centers for such episodes, Alejandros N. Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, said Thursday morning. The move is the first of several, administration officials said Wednesday night, to address the lessons of the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack this month, which forced Colonial to shut off the systems that send gasoline and jet fuel to nearly half of the East Coast. But based on the details released by people familiar with the order, it does little to solve the central problems that were revealed by that attack. The new requirement will essentially assure that the pipeline companies always have at least one employee with some cybersecurity training monitoring their systems, though it is unclear what that employee would be empowered to do other than raise an alarm. The order also sets a 30-day period to “identify any gaps and related remediation measures to address cyber-related risks” and report them to the Transportation Security Administration and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. But the gaps identified in the Colonial ransomware attack most likely would not have been anticipated by any such review, many experts note. And the company’s intense secretiveness in dealing with the government during the episode — including its decision to pay the ransom — was a source of constant frustration to government officials. Supporters and opponents of abortion rights outside the Supreme Court last year.Credit...T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times State legislatures have introduced more than 500 restrictions on abortion over the past four months. The Supreme Court plans to take up a case that could weaken or even overturn the constitutional right to abortion enshrined nearly a half-century ago in Roe v. Wade. And as reproductive rights advocates sound alarms about what they see as an existential threat to abortion rights, many worry that the leader they helped elect is not meeting the moment. Despite the urgency felt by much of his party, President Biden has said little about abortion publicly while in office. In fact, he hasn’t said the word itself — an avoidance so noticeable that one women’s health group has created a website tracking his reluctance, DidBidenSayAbortionYet.org. “What we really need is for President Biden to be a bold and transformational leader on abortion right now, but we haven’t seen that yet,” said Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for reproductive rights and health at the National Women’s Law Center. Many activists fear that Mr. Biden’s personal discomfort with the issue is keeping him from leading the Democratic Party into a more offensive position on abortion rights, both through more aggressive policymaking and leveraging the agenda-setting power of the presidency. “If you’re unable to say the word, you’re also going to have trouble making sure that the people who are most impacted get the care and the protections that we need,” said Renee Bracey Sherman, an abortion rights advocate who started the website monitoring Mr. Biden’s reticence. “To me that’s not a champion. That is not someone who is really even trying to show up for people who need abortions.” Mr. Biden’s cautiousness on an issue central to his political base comes as he confronts the realities of leading a Democratic Party that shifted sharply to the left during the Trump administration. Liberals are finding their ambitions curtailed on immigration, criminal justice, gun control and other priorities. The disagreement within the party over priorities is particularly acute on abortion rights, a core part of Democrats’ pitch to suburban and Black women. Still, abortion rights are particularly challenging personal terrain for Mr. Biden, an observant Catholic who underwent a decades-long conversion to the cause. Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington at the Capitol last month. “It is really unusual to get this level of intensity on a health care proposal,” she said in an interview.Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times A broad coalition of Democrats from across the ideological spectrum plans on Thursday to begin what it promises will be a noisy and sustained campaign to pressure President Biden to include a major expansion of Medicare in his infrastructure package. More than 150 House Democrats — including Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the leader of the progressive wing in the House, and Representative Jared Golden of Maine, one of the chamber’s most centrist Democrats — have teamed up on the effort, which is all but certain to draw Republican opposition but contains proposals that are popular with a wide segment of voters. “It is really unusual to get this level of intensity on a health care proposal,” Ms. Jayapal said in an interview. Disappointed that Mr. Biden has yet to act on a campaign promise to expand Medicare benefits, members of the group, who together represent nearly 70 percent of House Democrats, have signed on to a letter that kicks off their pressure campaign. Organizers say it will include opinion pieces and press events. Representatives Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania and Joe Neguse of Colorado are also leading the push. At the heart of the plan is a call to lower the eligibility age for Medicare to 60 from 65, adding about 23 million Americans to the federal health program for seniors at a cost of $200 billion over 10 years. The lawmakers also are pushing to expand Medicare benefits to cover dental, vision and hearing, which would cost about $350 billion over 10 years. The lawmakers say the costs would be more than offset by the third element of their package: empowering Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Ms. Jayapal said that change — one that Democrats have been pushing unsuccessfully for years — could generate as much as $650 billion over a decade, although the Congressional Budget Office has estimated the savings at about $450 billion over that period. The lawmakers have been engaged in Zoom calls with White House officials over the proposal, which they hope Mr. Biden will incorporate into a large spending package that can pass the Senate through the fast-track budget reconciliation process this year. But it is not clear whether Mr. Biden and other Democrats in Congress will embrace the push, given that Democratic leaders have been focused on a competing effort to make permanent a temporary expansion of health subsidies under the Affordable Care Act that was included in the stimulus law. That proposal has widespread support, including from hospitals, which want to be paid the higher private insurance rates, and insurers, which want more people buy their products. Any effort to expand Medicare is likely to be met with resistance from those same groups. Senators Strom Thurmond and Joseph R. Biden Jr. during a Judiciary Committee hearing in 1987. Mr. Biden had a long history as a bipartisan dealmaker during his more than three decades in the Senate.Credit...Jose R. Lopez/The New York Times As President Biden confronts intense Republican opposition to the broad voting rights bill that Democrats have made a top priority this year, he might remember back to 1982 and an earlier partisan clash over the issue, one of a number across the years that shaped his views on deal making — and its limits. A key provision of the Voting Rights Act, prohibiting states from denying the vote to people on the basis of race, was facing a high-profile Senate debate over its extension. The Senate Judiciary Committee, the panel handling the legislation, was chaired by Senator Strom Thurmond, the South Carolina Republican, but aware of the optics of having a former segregationist as their public face for negotiations, Republicans instead chose Senator Bob Dole of Kansas to lead them in talks about a deal. Representing the other side was Mr. Biden, then in his second term representing Delaware in the Senate. Mr. Biden was not the most well-known Democrat on the committee, but he did have one advantage: Republicans tended to listen to him. “He wanted to do the right thing but he wanted to do it in a way that built consensus,” Sheila Bair, who served as a longtime counsel to Mr. Dole, said in an interview. In meetings, Mr. Biden and Mr. Dole encouraged Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, a Republican who privately wanted to be helpful, according to two former Senate aides from that era. (A spokesman for Mr. Grassley said he had always been supportive of the Voting Rights Act, and was a key player in the 1982 extension of the law.) In another meeting, Mr. Biden pointed out to Mr. Thurmond that the tide was turning: “We’re gonna win anyhow, Strom.” In the end, Mr. Thurmond was among the Republicans who voted for it. Mr. Biden’s experience in the Senate taught him crucial lessons about navigating politically combustible civil rights issues. But he still faces especially wrenching decisions when it comes to the voting rights legislation, which has little likelihood of winning enough Republican support to pass the 60-vote threshold in the Senate. Mr. Biden must now decide whether to scale back his ambitions or to abandon hopes of a bipartisan compromise. Ms. Guzman and Vice President Kamala Harris with President Biden when he signed an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program in March.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times Isabella Casillas Guzman, President Biden’s choice to run the Small Business Administration, inherited a portfolio of nearly $1 trillion in emergency aid and an agency plagued by controversy when she took over in March. She has been sprinting from crisis to crisis ever since. Some new programs have been mired in delays and glitches, while the S.B.A.’s best-known pandemic relief effort, the Paycheck Protection Program, nearly ran out of money for its loans this month, confusing lenders and stranding millions of borrowers. Angry business owners have deluged the agency with criticism and complaints. Now, it’s Ms. Guzman’s job to turn the ship around. “It’s the largest S.B.A. portfolio we’ve ever had, and clearly there’s going to need to be some changes in how we do business,” she said in an interview with The New York Times’s Stacy Cowley. “The S.B.A. needs to be as entrepreneurial as the small businesses we serve,”she added. “What I really, truly mean by that is that a more customer-first approach.” The S.B.A. is by far the smallest cabinet-level agency, with an annual operating budget that is typically less than half of what the Defense Department spends in a day. It was long viewed within the government as a sleepy backwater. But when the pandemic sent unemployment claims soaring, Congress responded with a plan to give businesses money to keep their workers employed. Just seven days after President Donald J. Trump signed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in late March 2020, the Small Business Administration began accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program. Despite lots of speed bumps — including confusing, often-revised loan terms and several technical meltdowns — the program enjoyed some success. Millions of business owners credit it with helping them survive the pandemic and keep more workers employed. R. Nicholas Burns in 2017. A former ambassador to NATO, he is said to be President Biden’s pick for ambassador to China.Credit...Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images President Biden plans to announce that he has selected R. Nicholas Burns, a veteran Foreign Service officer and a former ambassador to NATO, as his ambassador to China, and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles as his ambassador to India, according to two people familiar with the process. Mr. Biden has also selected Thomas R. Nides, a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley who served as a deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama, to serve as the ambassador to Israel, those people said. Rahm Emanuel, the former mayor of Chicago and Mr. Obama’s chief of staff, who developed a close relationship with Mr. Biden when he was vice president, has been selected to serve as ambassador to Japan, the people said. And Ken Salazar, a former senator from Colorado and the interior secretary in the Obama administration, is said to have been chosen as the ambassador to Mexico. Mr. Biden has been reviewing lists of names for some of the crucial jobs for months and was deeply interested and involved in the selection process, administration officials said. And many of the nominees for coveted ambassadorships were offered the positions weeks or months ago. But the administration has delayed announcing the picks for several reasons. Instead of revealing the names one at a time, officials are planning to unveil a diverse slate of nominees, people involved in the process said. The administration is hoping to go beyond racial and gender diversity and focus on signaling to career Foreign Service officials that they are valued by whittling down the number of posts given to campaign donors. Another cause for delay is that many of the people who were selected are still completing time-consuming background checks and financial reviews as part of the rigorous vetting process. The Biden administration had initially hoped to move its first slate of nominees by mid-April, an official said. A White House official on Wednesday declined to comment on the timing and said that none of the names were final until the administration made an official announcement. Others in the running for key positions include Cindy McCain — the widow of Senator John McCain of Arizona — who is said to be Mr. Biden’s pick to serve as ambassador to the U.N. World Food Program, and Mark Gitenstein, a former ambassador to Romania and a close friend of Mr. Biden’s, who is said to be in consideration for ambassador to the European Union. Mr. Biden is also considering nominating Mark Brzezinski, who served as ambassador to Sweden during the Obama administration, as his ambassador to Poland, according to people familiar with the process. Mr. Brzezinski is the brother of Mika Brzezinski, a host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” and the son of Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter. The entrance to a seafood and meat market in Wuhan, China. A prevailing theory of the virus’s origin is that it jumped from animals to humans, possibly originating at the market, while another involves a lab accident.Credit...Noel Celis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images President Biden said Thursday he expected to release the results of an intelligence report on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, even as administration officials said the inquiry was likely to extend beyond the initial 90-day deadline. Mr. Biden on Wednesday announced that he had ordered the intelligence community to undertake a renewed examination of where the coronavirus came from and said that some intelligence agencies believe it was most likely created naturally, while at least one other favored the theory that it leaked accidentally from a lab in China. Just before boarding Air Force One for a trip to Ohio, Mr. Biden was asked whether he planned to release the intelligence report on the origins of the coronavirus. “Yes,” Mr. Biden told reporters, “unless there’s something I’m unaware of.” In a statement on Thursday, Amanda J. Schoch, the spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said the intelligence agencies had come together around the two likely scenarios, but there are so far no high-confidence assessments of the virus’ origins. “The U.S. intelligence community does not know exactly where, when, or how the Covid-19 virus was transmitted initially,” Ms. Schoch said. While 18 agencies make up the intelligence community, only a handful have been major players in assessing the likely origin of the virus. Most of the broader intelligence community, including the C.I.A. and the Defense Intelligence Agency, believe there is not yet sufficient information to draw a conclusion, even with low confidence, about the origins. “The I.C. continues to examine all available evidence, consider different perspectives, and aggressively collect and analyze new information to identify the virus’s origins,” Ms. Schoch said. Mr. Biden set a 90-day timeline for a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Avril B. Haines. While her office will deliver a report by the deadline, officials said work is likely to continue after that three-month time period. Some intelligence officials say it is scientists, not spies or analysts, who are likely to draw definitive conclusions on the origins of the virus. Collecting information from China and working with intelligence partners could help that scientific effort, but it is unlikely to uncover some sort of smoking gun. So far, according to three officials, there has been no intercepted Chinese communications that provide any strong evidence of a lab leak. Collecting so-called signals intelligence — electronic communications or phone calls — is notoriously difficult in China. The effort to uncover the origins of the coronavirus began more than a year ago during the Trump administration. But some officials were wary of President Donald J. Trump’s motives, arguing that his interest in the origins of the pandemic was either to deflect blame from his administration’s handling of the epidemic or to punish China. Current officials say the central goal of the new intelligence push is improve preparations for future pandemics. Mr. Biden’s message on Wednesday was calibrated to try not to close the door on future cooperation with China. White House frustration with China has risen after its announcement this week that Beijing would not participate in additional investigations by the World Health Organization. But the Biden administration is not trying to isolate China, and instead trying to walk a careful line between pressuring Beijing to cooperate and demonstrate that in the absence of that cooperation the United States will intensify its own investigation.