White House: ‘Absurd’ for GOP to take issue with dual-track infrastructure approach

The White House is pushing back on complaints from Republicans over Democrats’ plans to simultaneously pursue a bipartisan infrastructure package and one that can pass via reconciliation without GOP support.

“I think the American people are quite focused on how we’re getting work done on their behalf, less focused on the mechanics of the process. Now it is up to Republicans … to decide if they are going to vote against a historic investment in infrastructure that’s going to rebuild roads and railways and bridges in their communities, simply because they don’t like the mechanics of the process,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday.

“That’s a pretty absurd argument for them to make. Good luck on the political front on that argument,” she added. 

President Biden on Thursday said he won’t sign a newly announced bipartisan infrastructure deal if Congress doesn’t also pass a reconciliation bill, committing to a dual-track system to get both bills passed. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) on Thursday accused Biden of “caving” to his left flank after his comments and other Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), are giving early signs the move could quash the bipartisan effort.

“I don’t think that’s going to work. I don’t think that’s going to pass. I think they killed any opportunity. I think it was disingenuous in every shape and form,” McCarthy said.

Psaki said that Biden will “work like hell” to get both bills passed and that he fully expects to sign them both. 

“It’s something the president stated publicly many times and certainly he was consistent with that case made privately as were our negotiating team that he expected, anticipated, these initiatives would move forward on a dual track,” she said. 

She noted that Biden wants his Americans Families Plan, the second part of his initial infrastructure package, to be included in the budget reconciliation process. 

“I don’t think anybody expects that he was going to walk away from his own proposals,” Psaki said.

“I’ll let them speak to themselves,” she added on if the Republicans he reached a deal with on Thursday understood the bills would come in tandem.

Tags Biden infrastructure Biden infrastructure plan infrastructure proposal Infrastructure spending Jen Psaki Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Lindsey Graham Mitch McConnell Reconciliation
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