Capito said she sees the potential for bipartisan


The man who shot and killed nine people at a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail yard Wednesday was identified as Samuel Cassidy, 57, a San Jose resident and VTA employee.

San Jose VTA mass shooter Samuel Cassidy (CBS)

Cassidy died at the scene of the mass shooting at the Guadalupe maintenance yard at 101 W. Younger Ave. Santa Clara County Sheriff Deputy Russell said it’s believed Cassidy took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound since responding officers did not exchange gunfire with him.

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Cassidy had worked for Valley Transportation Authority since at least 2012, according to the public payroll and pension database Transparent California, first as a mechanic from 2012 to 2014, then as someone who maintained substations.

Cassidy earned more than $114,000 in regular and overtime pay along with an additional $46,000 in benefits in 2019, according to public records.

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He was listed as the owner of a home on the 1100 block of Angmar Ct. in the Ramblewood neighborhood of South San Jose, which caught fire around the same time as the VTA shooting. After the fire was extinguished, police and federal agents reportedly found explosives and gasoline at the home and people living in a one-block radius around the home were evacuated as bomb squad technicians” went through the home.

The San Jose Fire Department said in a statement the damage to the home was “heavy” and that the home was left uninhabitable.

Cecilia Nelms was married to Sam Cassidy for about ten years. She said Cassidy had anger issues but never physically hurt her. “I’m in shock, I’m very confused,” she said.

Nelms recalled how uncomfortable he was around other people. “Not a very friendly person, kept things to himself,” said Nelms.

Nelms said there were instances where Cassidy would talk about harming coworkers but never imagined it would happen.

An ex-girlfriend of Cassidy alleged in court documents he forced sexual acts on her and showed signs of being bipolar, with mood swings that worsened with alcohol. After his divorce, the ex-girlfriend alleges they had a volatile off and on relationship for about a year, with Cassidy actually filing a restraining order.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told CNBC the GOP could make additional offers after Thursday’s proposal.

“We’re going to keep talking, and I understand the president is willing to keep talking,” he told “Squawk on the Street” on Thursday. “We’d like to get an outcome on a significant infrastructure package.”

In a statement later Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki praised “constructive additions” to the Republican proposal, but said the administration “remains concerned” about the funding levels for rail systems, public transit and clean energy. She added that the White House is “worried that major cuts in COVID relief funds could imperil pending aid to small businesses, restaurants and rural hospitals.”

“As for the path forward, the President called Senator Capito thank her for the proposal, and to tell her that he would follow-up after getting additional detail,” Psaki said. “We are also continuing to explore other proposals that we hope will emerge.”

To reach a deal, the sides would have to resolve not only a gap in the price tag but also differing visions of how to offset the spending. In their counteroffer, Republicans again rejected Biden’s call to raise corporate taxes, contending they could cover infrastructure costs with funds already allocated by Congress or with transportation user fees.

Biden will also have to deal with concerns from within his own party, as some lawmakers worry about the president watering down his vision to win GOP support. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said it wasn’t “a serious counteroffer.”

“First of all, they don’t have ‘pay-fors’ for this, it’s not real,” the progressive Democrat told MSNBC. “They have this illusory notion of how we’re going to take money that’s already been committed to other places and other spending.”

The GOP proposal does not include Biden administration priorities such as $400 billion for home health care, $100 billion for electric vehicle consumer rebates or spending to upgrade housing and schools.

Republicans and the White House have moved closer to agreement on an infrastructure plan but still need to resolve fundamental issues about the scope of a package and how to pay for it, Capito said Thursday. She said the sides are “inching closer” in negotiations ahead of Memorial Day, the date by which the White House wanted to see progress in bipartisan negotiations.

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“We’re still talking. I’m optimistic, we still have a big gap,” the West Virginia Republican told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I think where we’re really falling short is we can’t seem to get the White House to agree on a definition or a scope of infrastructure that matches where we think it is, and that’s physical, core infrastructure.”

“The White House is still bringing their human infrastructure into this package and that’s just a nonstarter for us,” she continued, referring to Biden’s plans to put money into programs including care for elderly and disabled Americans.

It is unclear if the two parties can overcome broad ideological differences over what constitutes infrastructure, and how to pay for improvements to it, to strike a bipartisan deal. If negotiations do not show promise, Democrats will have to decide whether to try to pass an infrastructure bill on their own using special budget rules.

From left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., hold their news conference in the Capitol to announce the GOP infrastructure counteroffer on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
From left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., hold their news conference in the Capitol to announce the GOP infrastructure counteroffer on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
The process would bring its own headaches. Senate Democrats would have to keep all 50 members of their caucus on board and comply with strict rules about what can go into a budget reconciliation bill.

The GOP senators who crafted the offer to Biden mentioned that lawmakers could redirect unused coronavirus relief funds for state and local governments to infrastructure, or implement user fees on transportation like electric vehicles. Those Republican solutions could put Biden in a bind.

The president has promised not to raise taxes on anyone who makes less than $400,000 per year. User fees or an increase to the gas tax would put an extra burden on many Americans whose incomes falls under the threshold.

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Republicans have said they do not want to raise taxes to cover the costs of improving transportation, broadband and water systems. Biden has called to hike the corporate tax rate from 21% — the level set by the GOP after it cut taxes in 2017 — to at least 25%.

“We can do this without touching … those tax cuts,” Capito told CNBC.

Capito said she sees the potential for bipartisan agreement on transportation spending. She noted that the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee — where she sits as ranking member — advanced a roughly $300 billion surface transportation bill that she thinks could guide a broader infrastructure deal.

In trimming his original $2.3 trillion plan, Biden cut out funding for research and development and supply-chain enhancements. He also reduced proposed spending on broadband, roads and bridges.

The ex-girlfriend’s attorney Robert Cummings spoke on his clients behalf. “They met on Match. They dated for two months and he proposed but she turned him down. After that he became a very different person,” Cummings said.

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KPIX 5 stopped by his Cassidy’s parents’ house in Cupertino. They refused to comment but their neighbor was absolutely stunned to hear Cassidy was the shooter.

“Wait, wait, wait, you say he’s the killer?” said neighbor Jenny Wu. “He’s responsible? Really?”

Doug Suh, a neighbor of Cassidy’s who has lived across the street for the past two decades, described him as “mean” and untalkative, saying he and his wife tried to avoid interactions with him.

The neighbor said Cassidy lived by himself and would head to work at 5 a.m. every day.

Suh added that Cassidy came out of his house once when Suh had backed into Cassidy’s driveway to make a turn, telling Suh to get off his property.

Suh provided KPIX with surveillance video that showed a man — presumably Cassidy — leaving the home at around 5:40 a.m. Thursday morning with a duffel bag.

According to Suh, a short time later, he looked outside and saw a huge plume of smoke rising from Cassidy’s home.

At an afternoon press conference, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen refused to utter Cassidy’s name.

“I’m not going to confirm that,” he responded when reporters asked him to confirm the gunman’s name. “I feel like I’ve seen it so many places that you have confirmed it. Part of why just confirm it is I, I don’t want to bring more publicity to the person who did this by saying the person’s name. Because I don’t want to give more recognition to someone like this.”

He said when asked about the murder weapons — “There were multiple guns, but not a ghost gun.”

According to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Cassidy was seen working at the light rail yard before the shooting, and said it was clear the victims knew the shooter well.–165824843/–165824903/–165825339/–165825391/–165825397/–165825539/–165825541/–165825678/–165825908/–165826175/–165824843/–165824903/–165825339/–165825391/–165825397/–165825539/–165825541/–165825678/–165825908/–165826175/h

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