Biden Puts Out Statement Committing To Stay The Course On Infrastructure After GOP Wails

President Joe Biden listens as His Excellency Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan makes a statement to the press in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Friday, June 25, 2021.  (photo by Pete Marovich for The New York Times)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 25: U.S. President Joe Biden makes brief remarks while hosting Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, in the Oval... WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 25: U.S. President Joe Biden makes brief remarks while hosting Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, in the Oval Office at the White House June 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden announced in April that he was pulling all U.S. forces from Afghanistan and ending America’s longest war by September 11. (Photo by Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS

After days of Republican senators whining about Democrats’ promise to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure proposal and the President’s more progressive infrastructure priorities together — the latter through budget reconciliation — Biden put out a statement attempting to clarify a situation that GOPers had sought to muddle.

In his statement, issued Saturday, Biden said that it was not his intent to “create the impression that I was issuing a veto threat on the very plan I had just agreed to.”

“So to be clear,” he continued, “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,” Biden said in a statement on Saturday. “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.”

The President said that he will ask Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to schedule the infrastructure plan and the reconciliation bill for actions in the Senate. Biden said he expects both to head to the House.

“Ultimately, I am confident that Congress will get both to my desk, so I can sign each bill promptly,” Biden said.

The President said his demand had “understandably upset some Republicans” such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who cast the President’s plan to not sign the bipartisan bill unless he could do so in “tandem” with a reconciliation bill as an implicit veto threat.

“It almost makes your head spin,” McConnell said on Thursday. “An expression of bipartisanship and then an ultimatum on behalf of your left-wing base.”

Many news outlets subsequently adopted McConnell’s framing and took the GOP hand-wringing at face value. White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed wailings of victimhood on Friday.

“It is up to Republicans … to decide if they are going to vote against a historic investment in infrastructure that’s going to rebuild roads and railways and bridges in their communities simply because they don’t like the mechanics of the process,” Psaki said.

“That’s a pretty absurd argument for them to make,” she added. “Good luck on the political front on that argument.”

The President’s declaration issued Thursday echoed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) sentiment earlier in the day, in which she said that the House would not take up either piece of legislation until both are passed through the Senate.

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