Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell praised President Joe Biden for walking back his commitment to link the bipartisan infrastructure bill to ‘massive, unrelated tax-and-spend’ legislation in a statement Monday.
‘The President has appropriately delinked a potential bipartisan infrastructure bill from the massive, unrelated tax-and-spend plans that Democrats want to pursue on a partisan basis,’ McConnell said. ‘Now I am calling on President Biden to engage Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi and make sure they follow his lead.’
McConnell blasted the Congressional Democratic leaders for trying to pass ‘trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism’ and said Biden’s reversal would be a ‘hollow gesture’ if Pelosi and Schumer didn’t cooperate.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell praised President Joe Biden for walking back his commitment to link a bipartisan infrastructure bill to a ‘human’ infrastructure bill Senate Democrats would pass using reconciliation
President Joe Biden (right), returning to the White House Sunday with first lady Jill Biden (left), reversed what sounded like a veto threat of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, appeasing Republicans but annoying progressive Democrats
McConnell also urged Biden to pressure Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (right) not to push a ‘massive, unrelated tax-and-spend’ bill through using reconciliation
‘The president cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process,’ McConnell said.
On the heels of the infrastructure deal being announced last week, Biden said he would also pursue his ‘human’ infrastructure priorities through a bill that could pass the Senate using the reconciliation process – meaning it would only need Democratic votes.
He originally said he wouldn’t sign one without the other.
That comment had moderate Republicans hopping mad and threatening to walk away from the infrastructure deal.
In a statement on Saturday Biden said it was not his ‘intent’ to suggest he was issuing a veto threat on the bipartisan bill if it didn’t pass without the reconciliation bill.
‘So to be clear,’ his statement said, ‘our bipartisan agreement does not preclude Republicans from attempting to defeat my Families Plan; likewise, they should have no objections to my devoted efforts to pass that Families Plan and other proposals in tandem.’
That statement appeased the GOP.
Liberal Democrats, however, were not happy.
‘Let me be clear: There will not be a bipartisan infrastructure deal without a reconciliation bill that substantially improves the lives of working families and combats the existential threat of climate change. No reconciliation bill, no deal. We need transformative change NOW,’ Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote on Twitter.
‘Understand this: We’re not leaving child care behind. We’re not leaving green energy behind. And we’re not going to make America’s middle-class families pick up the ticket for this package. It’s time for billionaires and big corporations to step up,’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted.
Liberal Senator Bernie Sanders said he would not support Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure plan without a second, $6 trillion measure for ‘human’ infrastructure
The back-and-forth over the last three days shows the delicate dance the White House is doing as Biden tries to hold together the competing factions while brandishing his reputation as a bipartisan deal maker.
The nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill – which focuses on traditional infrastructure projects – can be passed through regular Senate order with enough Republican support.
A second measure – which contains ‘human infrastructure’ items such as tax increases, green energy projects, health care provisions and investments in child care – would have to be passed through a process know as reconciliation. That allows Democrats to bypass the 60-vote thresh hold usually needed to advance legislation in the Senate.
Progressive lawmakers are threatening to with hold their support from the compromise plan without it being paired with the reconciliation bill.
But the reconciliation bill would need all 50 Democrats in order to proceed.
That would include moderate Sens. like Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema.
Manchin has indicated he will support a reconciliation bill but not at the funding level liberals want. The measure is approaching the $6 trillion mark.
Moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he would support a second measure but said the $6 trillion price tag was too high
Republicans, meanwhile, were appeased when President Biden walked back comments from Friday threatening to tie the two infrastructure bills together: ‘The waters have been calmed,’ Republican Senator Mitt Romney said
‘If Republicans don’t want to make adjustments to a tax code which I think is weighted and unfair, then I’m willing to go reconciliation,’ Manchin said Sunday on ABC’s ‘This Week.’ ‘But if they think in reconciliation I’m going to throw caution to the wind and go to $5 trillion or $6 trillion when we can only afford $1 trillion or $1.5 trillion or maybe $2 trillion and what we can pay for, then I can’t be there.’
Sinema has been quiet on the issue.
Pelosi and Schumer have indicated they would like to pass both measures and send them together for Biden’s signature.
Pelosi said she would not put the bipartisan measure on the House floor without the reconciliation package.
‘Well, as I said, there won’t be an infrastructure bill unless we have a reconciliation bill. Plain and simple. In fact, I used the word ‘ain’t.’ There ain’t going to be an infrastructure bill, unless we have the reconciliation bill passed by the United States Senate,’ she said Thursday.