Amid backlash from Republicans in Congress and putting his own infrastructure bill in jeopardy, President Joe Biden on Saturday tried to walk back comments linking an infrastructure deal to a reconciliation proposal.
Biden wrote a lengthy statement on Saturday, explaining his comments “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.”
The statement went on to say, “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.”
Biden went on to add, “I have been clear from the start that it was my hope that the infrastructure plan could be one that Democrats and Republicans would work on together, while I would seek to pass my Families Plan and other provisions through the process known as reconciliation.”
The statement comes after the White House enacted damage control after Biden’s comments on Thursday did not sit well with Republicans who negotiated the bill.
Biden said spoke to reporters in the East Room, warning Congress, “What I expect — I expect that in the coming months this summer, before the fiscal year is over, that we will have voted on this bill, the infrastructure bill, as well as voted on the budget resolution. But if only one comes to me — if this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem.”
Those comments quickly made their way up to the Hill and drew criticism from Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who slammed the President’s comments.
“That’s no way to show you’re serious about getting a bipartisan outcome,” he said.
Biden spoke to Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who led negotiations for Senate Democrats, to reassure her of Biden’s stance. In a readout of the call, the White House said Biden and Sinema discussed his plans to reach an agreement among both Democrats and Republicans.
Biden will hit the road to pitch his bipartisan infrastructure agreement with a scheduled stop in Wisconsin for a speech on Tuesday.