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

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) discusses the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act at a press conference
Greg Nash

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (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 Tapper 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 Biden 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 Psaki 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.”

Tags budget reconciliation Infrastructure Jake Tapper Jen Psaki Joe Biden Kirsten Gillibrand
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