Biden issues statement on infrastructure bill amid debate |

Biden issues statement on infrastructure bill amid debate

President Biden on Saturday said he was not threatening to veto a bipartisan physical infrastructure bill if Congress does not pass his larger human infrastructure bill while analysts continued to debate the prospects for both bills.

In a statement, Biden said in part, “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.”

“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.

“So to 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. We will let the American people — and the Congress — decide.

“The bottom line is this: I gave my word to support the Infrastructure Plan, and that’s what I intend to do. I intend to pursue the passage of that plan, which Democrats and Republicans agreed to on Thursday, with vigor. It would be good for the economy, good for our country, good for our people. I fully stand behind it without reservation or hesitation.”

On Sunday, Cedric Richmond, a senior White House adviser, told CNN’s— “State of the Union” that the legislative strategy will be left up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

“I served in Congress for 10 years,” Richmond said. “The speaker is very capable. The speaker is great. And we expect to get two bills to our desk, so that — to the president’s desk — I’m sorry — so that he can sign both of them.”

On NBC‘s “Meet the Press,” both Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., signaled they want the infrastructure bill to pass.

Cassidy said Republicans had been assured that the physical infrastructure bill they support would not be linked to the human infrastructure bill that is expected to be considered through the reconciliation process, which would require only 51 votes.

Linking the two would “probably sink both,” Cassidy said. He also noted that his wife considers the infrastructure bill a women’s issue because women spend so much time driving their children around.

“This infrastructure bill is good for America, for all Americans,” Cassidy said. “It is going to make us more productive, it’s going to create lots of jobs. If you sink both, we lose the advantage of that which is in our hand, which is this infrastructure bill.”

Ocasio-Cortez said, “I think regardless of the president’s statements, there are three key chess pieces that we need to align to pass any legislation, as we know.”

“There’s the Senate, there’s the House and there’s the White House, there’s the presidency. So, I believe that, you know, the president is more than able to take his own approach, but I believe that we also have to talk about this missing piece which is the, the House.

“And I believe that in the House and House Democrats are very committed to making sure that, you know, in Sen. Cassidy’s words, that infrastructure is very centered on women and in addition to a bridge, you need a babysitter. And it’s very important that we pass a reconciliation bill and a families plan that expands childcare, that lowers the cost of Medicare, that supports families in the economy.”

Ocasio-Cortez also declined to say how much money she thinks the infrastructure bill should provide.

“Well, to me, it’s not just about a price tag, right,” she said.

“You can have an enormous price tag that is chock full of fossil fuels giveaways and doesn’t spend that money in a way that is going to, that is going to solve our problems. So, and likewise, you can also have an infrastructure plan that is too small, and it’s so small that it doesn’t invest in any meaningful way that people can really feel a positive impact in their everyday lives.

“And so for me, it’s not as much about a price tag, although I do think that there is a level where we do go too small, but I think it’s really about what impact are we making.”


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