The proposed, bipartisan version of an infrastructure package has dominated headlines over the past week, as after bitter negotiations for months, the two parties finally came to an agreement.
However, the agreement was immediately compromised after President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) appear to be holding the legislation hostage, which prompted one of the Republican negotiators, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) to release a statement indicating that he’s “profoundly disappointed” in their actions after all of the hard work that went into hammering out a bipartisan deal, Breitbart reported.
Over the weekend, Biden boasted in front of reporters after the bipartisan deal was announced, but not long after his brag session, he sent shockwaves through Capitol Hill when he said he would refuse to sign the bill unless a “tandem” bill containing a mountain of Democrats’ “soft” infrastructure — to the tune of $4 trillion — was passed alongside it.
The prompt and fierce backlash following Biden’s threat caused the president to issue a rare statement in which he “clarified” his intent.
“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,” Biden’s statement read, according to Marketwatch. “I intend to pursue the passage of that plan, which Democrats and Republicans agreed to on Thursday, with vigor.”
In contrast, Pelosi has refused to relent on dismissing the second spending bill as a separate entity. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) seemed to accept Biden’s clarification but urged the president to insist that Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) immediately follow suit.
“Now I am calling on President Biden to engage Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi and make sure they follow his lead,” McConnell said of the decoupling of the bills, according to Fox Business.
Tillis “profoundly disappointed”
A spokesperson from Tillis’ office released a statement expressing the North Carolina Republican’s thoughts on the unfolding controversy, on an issue that most believed was already put to rest, at least for a brief moment in time.
“While Sen. Tillis is pleased with the bipartisan framework agreed to by the Senate and President Biden, he is profoundly disappointed to see Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats engage in political hostage-taking,” the statement read.
But Tillis isn’t the only Republican senator speaking out against what appears to be — at least by some on the left — an attempt to hold a traditional infrastructure bill hostage with the condition that it only sees the light of day if their second, extravagances-filled spending bill is also passed.
“Any compromise on paid-for infrastructure is a bad deal so long as President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Schumer insist on pursuing a multi-trillion dollar tax-and-spend reconciliation package to further transform Americans’ relationship with our government through a cradle to grave welfare state,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said this week.
McConnell vowed to pay special attention to the developments surrounding the bill, and he’ll likely not hesitate to do whatever it takes to sink the entire ship if need be. Hopefully, he sticks to his guns.