It was an embarrassing moment for the White House and a juicy opportunity for Republicans looking to thwart President Joe Biden’s agenda: just two days after the triumphant announcement of a bipartisan infrastructure finance deal, the president made a somewhat shy statement in which He declined to comment can veto the same package if you don’t get another great expense package that you want.
“The statement has understandably angered Republicans,” Biden said in a euphemism for a White House statement. The written statement was unusual in that it came straight from the President, in Biden’s characteristically casual tone.
For Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who wanted Biden to be elusive or simply untrue, Biden’s 625-word statement to remedy this was powerful ammunition delivered personally by the political enemy. Republicans have tried to undermine the popular president by claiming the 76-year-old has cognitive impairment or is a tool of the party’s progressive and emerging wing.
But that attempt seems to have failed before it even gained momentum. Several Republican senators went on Sunday news broadcasts to express their relief at the president’s clarification.
Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio who is on the bipartisan team of Senators negotiating a nearly $ 1 trillion package with the White House, told ABC This Week on Sunday that he was “very happy to see the President’s remarks. “Now, Portman said,” we can move forward with a bipartisan agreement that is widespread. ”
Republican negotiator, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that “the waters have calmed down because of what (Biden) said on Saturday.”
And as an added bonus for Biden, who faces a determined enemy in McConnell, Romney added, “I trust the President.”
Republicans continued to give way on Monday, warning both voters and Republicans that Biden made no commitment to sign the infrastructure bill in the absence of a separate package to fund other national priorities approved by Congress.
Biden first sought a $ 2.2 billion infrastructure package that would define “infrastructure” as not just roads and bridges, but broadband, lead-free water pipes, and support for caregivers. Unsurprisingly, this idea was rejected by Republicans and met with skepticism from some Democrats, which sparked a series of bipartisan talks between the White House and grassroots lawmakers on Hill.
On Thursday, the team announced a deal in which Biden – who looks like he’s wasting his days as a simple senator, stands next to his colleagues and discusses the details of the legislation – unusually steps out of the White House to talk to reporters about the package to speak. The whole team seemed excited.
That changed hours later when White House Biden said he would not sign an infrastructure package unless he was also handed a separate bill containing many of his priorities for the “American Family Plan” programs. such as childcare, two free years of pre-kindergarten and two free years of community college, and a paid family and sick leave program.
This package is unlikely to receive much support from the Republican Party due to its high cost. But the Democrats, who control both Houses of Congress, could have it passed through what is known as a “budget vote,” a law that cannot be obstructed.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki didn’t say on Monday that Biden would sign the infrastructure bill without the larger spending package. When asked repeatedly whether Biden would sign one without the other, Psaki just repeated that the president hoped to sign both.
“I know that there has been a lot of interest in the reappraisal in the past few days. I understand that,” Psaki told reporters on Monday at the White House briefing. “We won’t do that. We will focus on our efforts to move forward.”
Biden’s return over the weekend calmed Republican negotiators, but McConnell and other Senate Conservatives are dissatisfied. McConnell called on Monday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and the Speaker of the House of Representatives