Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who serves on the committee overseeing transportation policy, was caught on a “hot mic” on Monday telling Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that reconciliation will likely need to be used in order for Democrats to pass their infrastructure plans.
Politico first reported the news.
Following a tour of a UPS facility distributing COVID-19 vaccines to the Maryland and Washington, D.C. areas, Cardin had a “hot mic” moment with Buttigieg that was caught on C-SPAN.
Cardin anticipated the likelihood of using budget reconciliation to pass infrastructure legislation in a 50-50 Senate, much like what happened when the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan passed Congress last week and delivered President Biden’s first major legislative victory.
Cardin was overheard telling Buttigieg that Democrats will “most likely have to use reconciliation” because Republicans will only “meet with you to a point.”
Buttigieg maintained that he is “pretty process-agnostic,” but that he wants to push infrastructure passage through and is open to ideas from lawmakers on legislation-related matters.
During the event, Buttigieg said that the Biden administration wants to act fast on transportation and infrastructure issues.
However, the unveiling of specific infrastructure plans under the Biden administration remains unclear.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration is working closely with members of Congress regarding the crafting of an infrastructure package that has yet to be finalized.
“His priority and focus has always been on people paying their fair share, and also focusing on corporations that may not be paying their fair either,” Psaki said. “That remains his overarching approach, but there isn’t a package yet.”