White House adviser to MSNBC host: Biden deal ‘wasn’t a photo op’

President Biden speaks to reporters outside the White House following a meeting with a bipartisan group of Senators where they reached a deal on the infrastructure plan on June 24
UPI Photo

A top White House economic adviser on Friday disputed the suggestion that President Biden’s declaration of a deal on infrastructure alongside a bipartisan group of senators was merely a photo opportunity, after the deal received early pushback from some progressive Democrats.

“There’s no question that those kinds of political machinations are very much lurking in the background, but I would never call what happened yesterday a photo op,” Jared Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on MSNBC.

“I would call it the result of detailed negotiations where both sides came to the table on behalf of the American people. There were some compromises, of course. That’s how politics works,” Bernstein continued.

“That’s not a photo op … that’s democracy in action,” he added.

Bernstein was responding to anchor Stephanie Ruhle, who suggested it was a photo op for Biden to come outside the West Wing on Thursday alongside the senators and announce they had a deal, noting progressives like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had consistently been pushing for a bigger infrastructure package. 

“The road ahead remains one that is filled with all kinds of politics, and this president has shown he’s capable of navigating those choppy channels,” Bernstein said when asked about the political dynamics to get the deal passed.

In a rare move for a president, Biden himself joined lawmakers outside the White House to tell reporters news of the agreement for an infrastructure deal totaling $1.2 trillion over eight years.

“I think it’s really important, we’ve all agreed that none of us got all that we wanted. I clearly didn’t get all I wanted. They gave more than I think maybe they were inclined to give in the first place,” he said.

Several progressive senators signaled after the deal was announced that they would not support it unless they could secure commitments on passing a separate Democratic-only bill.

In a nod to the reluctance among some progressives to support the deal, Biden told reporters later Thursday that he would not sign the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless a reconciliation bill also makes it to his desk that contains trillions of dollars in spending on other administration priorities in areas such as health care, education and family care.

Tags Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren infrastructure deal Jared Bernstein Joe Biden Stephanie Ruhle

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