OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Joe Biden has a tendency to say things before he thinks and now he is walking back comments he made about the bipartisan infrastructure deal reached between a group of ten senators and his White House.
During a press conference where he was asked about the deal on Thursday, after the five Republican and five Democrat senators had reached an agreement, he said “If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” which many took as a veto threat.
But in a statement issued by the Biden team on Friday he walked back those comments, saying that it was not his intention to sound like he was threatening a veto, The Daily Mail reported.
“At a press conference after announcing the bipartisan agreement, I indicated that I would refuse to sign the infrastructure bill if it was sent to me without my Families Plan and other priorities, including clean energy,” he said. “That statement understandably upset some Republicans, who do not see the two plans as linked; they are hoping to defeat my Families Plan—and do not want their support for the infrastructure plan to be seen as aiding passage of the Families Plan.’
“My comments also created the impression that I was issuing a veto threat on the very plan I had just agreed to, which was certainly not my intent,” he said.
“[T]o be clear: 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,” he said. “We will let the American people—and the Congress—decide.”
Biden was desperate to keep Republicans on board after his comments sparked fury among some that they had been tricked.
“In the days since [the deal was reached], the primary focus in Washington has not been about the Plan’s scope, scale or provisions—but rather, how it relates to other legislation before Congress: my American Families Plan,” he said. “The American Families Plan… has broad support with the American people, but not among Republicans in Congress.’”
One of the Republicans who felt that the Republicans were played was South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
It was discovered, after the bipartisan deal was reached, that Biden wanted to do a separate bill that would have all of the pet projects that progressives wanted and it would be set to pass through reconciliation, which would not require any Republican votes, Politico reported.
1) The Senate will turn the bipartisan agreement into legislative text in the coming days so it can pass it out of the chamber in July. The House will likely have its own version. But instead of conferencing and approving a combined bill for Biden’s signature before the August recess, leaders will put infrastructure on ice until the Democrats-only bill catches up.
2) Schumer and Pelosi plan to have both their chambers pass their respective budget resolutions before the August recess, enabling Democrats to unlock the fast-tracking reconciliation tool.
3) That budget will include instructions for each committee to tackle everything from corporate tax hikes to climate change, education, paid family leave and the like — in other words, everything Democrats want that’s not included in the bipartisan infrastructure package. The panels will work over the August recess to draft the massive reconciliation bill, which Sen. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.) hopes will top $6 trillion.
4) When lawmakers return in September from the August recess, they’ll have a few weeks to clear both bills at the same time. The new deadline for getting both to Biden’s desk, per Democratic leaders, is Sept. 30, when a bunch of surface transportation programs expire.
As he was boarding a plane on Thursday night, Sen. Graham said that there is no way that he would vote for the deal.
“I’m not doing that,”he said to Politico before he got on the plane. “That’s extortion! I’m not going to do that.”
“Most Republicans could not have known that,” he said about the Democrats’ plan. “There’s no way. You look like a fu**ing idiot now,” he said of Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman and Mitt Romney who negotiated the deal.
“I don’t mind bipartisanship, but I’m not going to do a suicide mission,” he said.