Biden adviser on president signing bill: 'I don't think it's a yes-or-no question'

Biden adviser on president signing bill: 'I don't think it's a yes-or-no question'
© Bonnie Cash

White House senior adviser Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondThe Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio Black Caucus meets with White House over treatment of Haitian migrants The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Questions on Biden agenda; unemployment benefits to end MORE on Sunday refused to answer if President BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE will sign the bipartisan infrastructure package if it is sent to his desk without a larger bill that is passed through reconciliation, arguing that it is not “a yes-or-no question.”

Richmond, when asked by host Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperFrederica Wilson rails against Haitian deportation flights, calls treatment 'inhumane' WHIP LIST: How House Democrats say they'll vote on infrastructure bill Yarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed MORE on CNN’s “State of the Union” if he would support a solo bipartisan infrastructure bill that is not accompanied by a larger package that is passed through reconciliation, which would require only the support of Democrats, responded, “I don’t think it’s a yes-or-no question.”

“We passed the Rescue Plan. We're going to pass the Jobs Plan, and we're going to pass the American Families Plan,” Richmond said before adding that he expects “to have both bills in front of us to sign.”

“And I expect that President Biden will sign the infrastructure bill, he will sign the Families Plan,” Richmond added.

When pressed by Tapper on if Biden will not commit to signing the infrastructure bill if it is not passed with a reconciliation package, Richmond deferred to the president’s statement from Saturday walking back his previous remarks, which created a firestorm and endangered the bipartisan deal.

Biden on Thursday said he would not sign the bipartisan deal if the larger Democratic proposal did not reach his desk. On Saturday, he said he would sign the bipartisan deal and that he had not intended to imply he would not if it reached his desk and the Democratic bill did not.

“No, I think that the important point here is to focus on the statement yesterday where the president's words speak for themselves,” Richmond said.

“I don't — I speak for the president, but I don't put words in his mouth. And where he has a clear statement, I let that do the speaking, but the important thing is to focus on how historic this infrastructure bill is,” he added.

Some GOP senators are accepting Biden’s walk-back and say they are still on board with supporting the package.

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMajor US port target of attempted cyber attack Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Officials want action on cyberattacks Officials urge Congress to consider fining companies that fail to report cyber incidents MORE (R-Ohio) on Sunday said that while he was “blindsided” by Biden’s comments last week, he was “very glad to see the president clarify his remarks because it was inconsistent with everything that we had been told all along the way.”

“I'm glad they've now been delinked and it's very clear that we can move forward with a bipartisan bill that's broadly popular,” Portman told host Jonathan Karl on ABC’s “This Week.”

Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyGOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff House passes bill to prevent shutdown and suspend debt limit Louisiana delegation split over debt hike bill with disaster aid MORE (R-La.) echoed Portman’s sentiment on Sunday, claiming that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWe don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble House passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome MORE (R-Ky.) “didn’t like the president throwing the wrench in there” when Biden proposed a dual-track system to get two bills passed before adding that the Republican leader will support the bipartisan package "if it continues to come together as it is."

"That's not what we were told, and so of course that caused a little bit of a, hmm, let's think about this. But I think Mitch McConnell wants infrastructure as much as anyone else. He wants the jobs that this will create. I think Leader McConnell will be for it if it continues to come together as it is,” Cassidy told host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddThe press ever-so-politely turns on Biden, as troubles mount NBC's Chuck Todd: Biden currently battling 'pretty big credibility crisis' 'Highest priority' is to vaccinate the unvaccinated, Fauci says MORE on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Five questions and answers about the debt ceiling fight MORE (R-Utah) on Sunday said he trusted Biden and accepted the president’s clarification, before doubling down on the Republican Party’s opposition to a second, larger infrastructure package.

“I do trust the president, and he made very clear in the much larger statement that came out over the weekend, carefully crafted and thought through piece by piece, as that if the infrastructure bill reaches his desk and it comes alone, he will sign it,” Romney told Tapper.

“I recognize that he and his Democratic colleagues want more than that. They want other legislation as well, and we Republicans are saying absolutely no. We will not support a bill which is to be passed with a massive tax increase and at the same time trillions of dollars in new spending. That is not something we will support,” he added.

Updated at 4:31 p.m.