Gillibrand says it's a 'misstep' for Democrats to wait for Republicans to negotiate infrastructure

Gillibrand says it's a 'misstep' for Democrats to wait for Republicans to negotiate infrastructure
© Greg Nash

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSenators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance Overnight Defense: Military justice overhaul included in defense bill | Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' | Pentagon carries out first air strike in Somalia under Biden Duckworth, Pressley introduce bill to provide paid family leave for those who experience miscarriage MORE (D-N.Y.) on Sunday said it is a “misstep” for Democrats to “wait any longer” for Republicans on infrastructure negotiations.

When asked by host Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperFive takeaways from the CPAC conference in Dallas Eric Adams to meet with Biden on curbing gun violence Israel offering third Pfizer dose to adults with weak immune systems MORE on CNN’s “State of the Union” if Republicans are “negotiating in bad faith” on an infrastructure bill, Gillibrand called on the White House to pass its package through reconciliation, which would allow Congress to approve legislation with a simple majority vote, eliminating the need for Republican support.

“We are in an important time where people need government to work for them, and so we have to answer that moment with bold reforms, and I think waiting any longer for Republicans to do the right thing is a misstep. I would go forward,” Gillibrand said.

President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks MORE has a huge, bold agenda of so much he wants to do for the economy and the American people. Democrats should respond and vote together now through reconciliation to get it done and then move on to the rest of the bipartisan agenda like my bill,” she added.

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a $928 billion infrastructure counterproposal, which includes funding for roads, bridges an public transit systems.

The GOP’s new bill is substantially more than its initial $568 billion proposal introduced in April but still falls short of the $1.7 trillion counteroffer White House officials made earlier this month.

The White House said it was positive about the Senate Republicans’ counterproposal.

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Biden administration stokes frustration over Canada White House blasts China's 'dangerous' rejection of coronavirus origins study MORE said it was “encouraging” to see the GOP negotiating group propose a package with a “substantially increased” funding level and highlighted “several constructive additions to the group’s previous proposals.”

Psaki did, however, say that the White House is still “concerned” that the proposal does not allocate funds for “critical job-creating needs,” including fixing veterans hospitals, building modern rail systems, repairing transit systems, removing dangerous lead pipes and “powering America’s leadership in a job-creating clean energy economy.”

The White House also expressed concern with the GOP’s proposal to repurpose unspent funds from Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan to pay for the infrastructure investments.

Psaki said the group's proposal for how to pay for the package "remains unclear."