President Joe Biden said Saturday he has no plans to veto a bipartisan infrastructure bill if it comes without a reconciliation package, going back on a statement last week that he would refuse to sign it unless that both bills would come together.
The comment angered some Republican lawmakers, including Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who said the president threatened to veto the bipartisan agreement in a Senate statement Thursday.
“This statement understandably upset some Republicans who do not see the two plans as linked,” the president said in a statement.
“My comments also gave the impression that I threatened to veto the very plan that I had just approved, which was certainly not my intention,” said the president.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers signed an infrastructure initiative deal on Thursday after weeks of negotiations to work out a package that could get through Congress with the support of Republicans and Democrats. The framework calls for $ 579 billion in new spending to improve the country’s roads, bridges, and broadband.
The second bill would include funding for Democratic-backed issues such as climate change, childcare, health care and education, issues that administrators have termed “human infrastructure”. It would go through a Senate process called Reconciliation, which does not require Republican votes.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Thursday morning the House of Representatives would not adopt either of the bills until both are passed by the Senate. The Democrats cannot lose a single vote on a reconciliation law in the divided chamber.
Biden said he will ask Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., to plan the Infrastructure Plan and Atonement Act for action in the Senate, and expects both to go to the House of Representatives.
“Ultimately, I am confident that Congress will bring both of these to my desk so that I can immediately sign any bill,” said Biden.
Read the President’s full statement here:
On Thursday, I reached an historic agreement with a bipartisan group of senators on a $ 1.2 trillion plan to remodel our physical infrastructure. The plan would be the largest investment in infrastructure in history, the largest investment in rail transportation since Amtrak was founded, and the largest investment in transit ever. It would repair roads and bridges, make major investments in our clean energy future, and help this country compete with China and other economic competitors. It would replace lead water pipes in our schools and homes, and connect every American to high-speed internet. It would create millions of highly paid jobs that could not be outsourced.
In the days since, the main focus in Washington has not been on the scope, scope, or terms of the plan – but rather how it relates to other law before Congress: my American family plan. The American Families Plan – which would make historic investments in education, health care, childcare, and tax cuts for families, coupled with other investments in caring for our seniors, housing, and clean energy – has widespread support among the American people, but not among Republicans in the United States Congress.
It was clear to me from the start that I hope the infrastructure plan could be a plan that Democrats and Republicans work on together while I would try to pass my family plan and other provisions down through the process known as reconciliation. There was no doubt or no ambiguity about my intention to do so.
At a press conference following the announcement of the bipartisan agreement, I stated that I would refuse to sign the Infrastructure Bill if it were sent to me without my family plan and other priorities, including clean energy. This statement understandably angered some Republicans who did not see the two plans as linked; they hope to thwart my family plan – and do not want their support for the infrastructure plan to be seen as aiding in the adoption of the family plan.
What I said also gave the impression that I threatened to veto the very plan that I had just agreed to, which was certainly not my intention. To be clear, our bipartisan agreement doesn’t prevent Republicans from foiling my family plan; likewise, you should have no objection to my dedicated efforts to get this family plan and other proposals adopted concurrently. We let the American people – and Congress – decide.
The bottom line is: I gave my word to support the infrastructure plan, and I intend to. I intend to vigorously pursue the adoption of this plan, which the Democrats and Republicans agreed on Thursday. It would be good for the economy, good for our country, good for our people. I stand behind it wholeheartedly, without reservation or hesitation.
Some other Democrats have said they could oppose the infrastructure plan because it leaves out points that they think are important: I think that’s a mistake. Some Republicans are now saying they might oppose the infrastructure plan because I am also trying to get the American Families plan passed: that, too, is a mistake in my opinion. I intend to work hard to ensure that both will pass because our country needs both – and I ran a successful campaign for the president that promised to do both. Nobody should be surprised that I am doing just that.
I will ask Head of State Schumer to pass both the infrastructure plan and the draft reconciliation in the Senate. I expect both of them to go to the House of Representatives, where I will work with Speaker Pelosi on the way forward after the Senate action. Ultimately, I am confident that Congress will have both of these at my desk so that I can sign any bill in a timely manner.