Biden: 'Not my intent' to imply veto for bipartisan infrastructure package

President BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Former New York state Senate candidate charged in riot MORE on Saturday sought to clarify remarks that he made earlier this week regarding a bipartisan deal and a potential, larger reconciliation package on infrastructure amid backlash from both progressive and Republican lawmakers.

Biden had said on Thursday that he would not sign a bipartisan deal on infrastructure unless a larger reconciliation deal was passed through the Senate, but on Saturday he attempted to walk back some of those remarks.

"At a press conference after announcing the bipartisan agreement, I indicated that I would refuse to sign the infrastructure bill if it was sent to me without my Families Plan and other priorities, including clean energy," Biden said in a statement released by the White House Saturday afternoon.


"That statement understandably upset some Republicans, who do not see the two plans as linked; they are hoping to defeat my Families Plan—and do not want their support for the infrastructure plan to be seen as aiding passage of the Families Plan.

“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,” he added.

Biden announced on Thursday that he and a bipartisan group of moderate senators had reached a deal on infrastructure that totaled about $1.2 trillion over 8 years. The deal did not include some of Biden's most pressing priorities, including provisions in his American Families plan and clean energy measures. 

The president announced the deal in front of the White House surrounded by the lawmakers including Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: CDC advises vaccinated to wear masks in high-risk areas | Biden admin considering vaccine mandate for federal workers Eight Republicans join Democrats to confirm head of DOJ environmental division The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Crunch time for bipartisan plan; first Jan. 6 hearing today MORE (R-Maine) Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMichelle Obama to Simone Biles: 'We are proud of you and we are rooting for you' Aly Raisman defends former teammate Biles: 'I'm proud of her' Mitt Romney praises Simone Biles following withdrawal from team event MORE (R-Utah), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy: Manchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas review | Biden admin reportedly aims for 40 percent of drivers using EVs by 2030 |  Lack of DOD action may have caused 'preventable' PFAS risks Manchin grills Haaland over Biden oil and gas moratorium Feehery: It's time for Senate Republicans to play hardball on infrastructure MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaOn The Money: Schumer, Warren call on Biden to extend student loan pause | IMF estimates 6 percent global growth this year Biden, Sinema meet as infrastructure talks hit rough patch Feehery: It's time for Senate Republicans to play hardball on infrastructure MORE (D-Ariz.), among others. 

However, during a press conference later in the day, the president indicated that he would not sign the bipartisan deal unless a reconciliation bill came "in tandem." 

“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 later Thursday. 


Biden's actions during the day sparked pushback from both progressive Democrats, who felt the deal was too narrowly focused, and from Republicans who balked at the idea of another package pushed through reconciliation on top the bipartisan bill. 

Some progressives threatened not to support the bill unless Biden passed a separate reconciliation bill through the Senate, which would only need the support of 50 Democratic senators.

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia US launches second Somalia strike in week MORE (D-Conn.) said earlier this week that he was “not voting for a bipartisan package unless I know what is in reconciliation.”

Those comments were echoed by Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie SandersBernie SandersBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Lawmakers can't reconcile weakening the SALT cap with progressive goals Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action MORE (I-Vt.) as he said that a bipartisan deal would not move forward unless they had a "firm, absolute agreement" on a reconciliation bill.

Responding to disgruntled Democrats in his statement Saturday, Biden said, “Some other Democrats have said they might oppose the Infrastructure Plan because it omits items they think are important: that is a mistake, in my view.

Several Republicans have already signaled that they were against a reconciliation bill fast-tracked by Senate Democrats, especially after some had signaled openness to the bipartisan proposal. 

On Thursday, Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyBipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor The Hill's Morning Report - High-profile COVID-19 infections spark new worries GOP centrists call on Schumer to delay infrastructure vote MORE (R-La.) told reporters the president’s comments had “turned everything upside down."

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamEight Republicans join Democrats to confirm head of DOJ environmental division GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden DACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats MORE (R-S.C.) also signaled that he was upset at the president’s comments.

“No deal by extortion! It was never suggested to me during these negotiations that President Biden was holding hostage the bipartisan infrastructure proposal unless a liberal reconciliation package was also passed,” Graham tweeted on Friday.

Responding to Republicans, Biden said Saturday, “Some Republicans now say that they might oppose the infrastructure plan because I am also trying to pass the American Families Plan: that is also a mistake, in my view.”

The president concluded by reiterating that he still intended to support the bipartisan deal.

“The bottom line is this: I gave my word to support the Infrastructure Plan, and that’s what I intend to do. I intend to pursue the passage of that plan, which Democrats and Republicans agreed to on Thursday, with vigor," Biden said. "It would be good for the economy, good for our country, good for our people. I fully stand behind it without reservation or hesitation."


However, Biden signaled that he planned to pursue both plans.

“I will ask Leader Schumer to schedule both the infrastructure plan and the reconciliation bill for action in the Senate. I expect both to go to the House, where I will work with Speaker Pelosi on the path forward after Senate action. Ultimately, I am confident that Congress will get both to my desk, so I can sign each bill promptly,” Biden said, referring to Democratic congressional leadership.

Updated 6:10 p.m.