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Buttigieg: ‘I think we are getting pretty close to a fish-or-cut-bait moment’ on infrastructure talks

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg
Greg Nash

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday said the Biden administration is “getting pretty close to a fish-or-cut-bait moment” when discussing negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans on an infrastructure package.

When asked by host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” if Democrats would “go it alone” on infrastructure if there is not an agreement next week, Buttigieg said that while negotiations have been “healthy,” the process “can’t go on forever.”

I think we are getting pretty close to a fish-or-cut-bait moment, but I will tell you that, on the fishing side of things, the negotiations have been healthy. There’s a lot of conversations going on among members of Congress who have come forward with a lot of different ideas in addition to the discussions that we have had with the group led by Sen. [Shelley Moore] Capito [R-W.Va.]. So we believe in this process but also very much agree that this can’t go on forever,” Buttigieg said.

“This can’t go on in terms of the condition of our infrastructure. Therefore the negotiations can’t go on forever either,” he added.

Senate Republicans last Thursday unveiled a $928 billion infrastructure counterproposalThe new package is substantially more than the GOP’s initial $568 billion proposal introduced in April but still falls far short of the $1.7 trillion counteroffer White House officials made earlier this month.

Buttigieg said on CNN that when Congress returns from recess next month, the negotiations “need a clear direction.”

“Certainly encouraging to see the healthy conversations that have happened over the last days and weeks, but the president keeps saying inaction is not an option. And time is not unlimited here. We — the American people expect us to do something. They expect us to deliver, and it’s my hope that these continued conversations really over these next few days will be productive and will lead to that clear direction,” Buttigieg added.

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