President BidenJoe BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE on Thursday said he won’t sign the bipartisan infrastructure deal if Congress doesn’t also pass a reconciliation bill, committing to a dual track system to get both bills passed.
“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, this is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNorth Dakota Republican latest House breakthrough COVID-19 case Pelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that the House would not vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passes a larger set of Democratic priorities through budget reconciliation.
Biden said he agreed with the Speaker on the sequencing.
“The bipartisan bill from the very beginning was understood, there’s going to have to be the second part of it. I’m not just signing the bipartisan bill and forgetting about the rest that I proposed. I proposed a significant piece of legislation in three parts and all three parts are equally important,” the president said.
Biden’s remarks are likely to ease concerns among progressive Democrats who are wary of the bipartisan agreement because it does not include other Democratic priorities, like measures to expand access to child care, free education and paid family leave.
Still, Democrats will need to convince moderates like Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Budget impasses mark a critical turning point in Biden's presidency Democrats urge Biden to go all in with agenda in limbo MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaBudget impasses mark a critical turning point in Biden's presidency Democrats urge Biden to go all in with agenda in limbo Why Democrats opposing Biden's tax plan have it wrong MORE (D-Ariz.) to go along with a big reconciliation bill, which could allow Democrats to pass the rest of their agenda without GOP support.
Senate progressives had already signaled Thursday that they wouldn’t bless the bipartisan infrastructure deal without a major reconciliation package.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie Sanders Texas House Republican tests positive for coronavirus in latest breakthrough case In defense of share buybacks Progressives seething over Biden's migrant policies MORE (I-Vt.) vowed that there would not be movement on a bipartisan deal unless there is a "firm, absolute agreement" on a reconciliation bill.
Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats urge Biden to go all in with agenda in limbo Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B Senators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State MORE (D-Conn.) also told reporters he wouldn’t vote for the package without knowing what is in a reconciliation bill.
The comments could also create problems with Republicans who oppose other aspects of Biden's agenda.
Asked later to clarify the president's remarks, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-PierreKarine Jean-PierreRoger Stone served with Capitol riot lawsuit during radio interview Democrats say Biden must get more involved in budget fight White House says law enforcement in 'heightened state of alert' ahead of J6 rally MORE wouldn’t say whether Biden was drawing a “red line” but said it is Biden’s intention to pass both an infrastructure bill and his families plan.
“His intention is to make sure that we move forward with both,” Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One. “He is saying that he wants to do both at the same time.”
The infrastructure framework Biden endorsed Thursday includes $579 billion in new spending for a total of $973 billion over five years and a little more than $1.2 trillion over eight years.
Biden acknowledged Thursday that there are divisions in his party on how to move forward.
“My party’s divided but my party’s also rational. If they can’t get every single thing they want but all they have in the bill before them is good, are they going to vote no? I don’t think so."
The president said there is plenty of work ahead to get both bills to his desk and said he would work with Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerAnti-Trump Republicans on the line in 2022 too Democrats urge Biden to go all in with agenda in limbo Democrats press Schumer on removing Confederate statues from Capitol MORE (D-N.Y.) to make sure both are passed expeditiously. Biden also brushed off criticism from progressives about his willingness to negotiate with Republicans, saying that he would always look to find common ground where possible.
“I’m not going to rest until both get to my desk,” Biden said. “I know there are some of my party who discourage me from seeking an agreement with my Republican colleagues, who said that we should go bigger and go alone. To them I say this: I’ve already shown in my young presidency that I'm prepared to do whatever needs to get done to move the country forward. That’s what I did with the American Rescue Plan.”
“When we can find common ground, though, working across party lines, that is what I will seek to do," he continued. "The reason why is because the broader support a proposal has in Congress, the stronger its prospects for passage.”
Updated: 3:43 p.m.