President Joe Biden confirmed rumors on Wednesday that if he can’t get Republicans to back his efforts, he would look to get his massive, multitrillion-dollar infrastructure package passed without the support of the GOP.
According to Breitbart, Biden’s comments came Wednesday during an appearance by the president on MSNBC.
“I want to get a bipartisan deal on as much as we can get a bipartisan deal on, and that means roads, bridges, broadband, all — infrastructure,” Biden said.
“So, we’re going to fight those out,” he added. “So, I want to know, what can we agree on? And let’s see if we can get an agreement to kickstart this and then fight over what’s left and see if I can get it done, without Republicans, if need be.”
“We could have a problem”
Biden met Wednesday with several congressional leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to discuss his plans for an infrastructure deal.
Following the meeting, McConnell told reporters that “traditional infrastructure, roads, bridges, ports, water lines, broadband, are things we can agree on.” But “to the extent that they start getting off in rather exotic definitions of what amounts to infrastructure, we could have a problem,” the Kentucky Republican said, according to The Hill’s Changing America.
McConnell also told reporters that he made clear to Biden that Republicans are not on board with raising taxes above the levels set by Republicans and then-President Donald Trump in 2017. Raising taxes is one way that Biden is looking to pay for the pricey infrastructure bill.
“We’re not interested in reopening the 2017 tax bill. We both made it clear to the president,” the Senate GOP leader said, according to Breitbart. “That’s our red line.”
“Pretty popular on both sides of the aisle”
In his interview with MSNBC, Biden seemed to suggest he’d be open to using reconciliation to pass the infrastructure package without the backing of any Senate Republicans. The process, used earlier this year to push through a COVID-19 relief bill, lowers the threshold for legislation to pass in the upper chamber to a simple majority.
McConnell, however, seems to think Biden is bluffing.
“I think they want a deal this time and I think they want a deal with us, because I don’t think they think they can pass this second effort through a reconciliation package,” McConnell said, according to Changing America.
“In other words, I don’t think they can get their own ducks in a row, and so they are coming to us, and that’s generally how you reach bipartisan agreements,” the Senate minority leader added. “Plus, the subject matter is pretty popular on both sides of the aisle.”