Pavlich: Democrats' bad faith games on infrastructure

Pavlich: Democrats' bad faith games on infrastructure
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Nearly four weeks ago a bipartisan group of U.S. senators emerged from the West Wing to celebrate a deal on a slimmed down infrastructure framework. It was a win for both political parties and Americans who overwhelmingly support new hard infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.

“Today, we’re proud to advance this bipartisan proposal to make a historic investment in America’s critical infrastructure needs, advance cleaner technologies, create jobs, and strengthen American competitiveness, without raising taxes. This agreement shows that the two parties can still come together, find common ground, and get things done that matter to everyday Americans. We are happy to have President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race GOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden For families, sending money home to Cuba shouldn't be a political football MORE’s support, and will now get to work enlisting the support of colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” twenty-one Republican and Democratic senators released in a statement.

But within hours of the announcement, President Biden torpedoed the deal by threatening to veto it if a massive $6 trillion spending package did not accompany infrastructure to the Resolute Desk for signature.

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“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 the same afternoon.

He said the quiet part out loud, revealing Democrats and the White House were negotiating in bad faith. They had plans to agree to a smaller, bipartisan deal, get it signed and then ram through a massive spending package anyway. They gave up the game, but attempted to do damage control.

The White House spent the weekend monitoring the clean up, with Biden eventually releasing a lengthy, multi-paragraph statement trying to salvage the deal.

“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. 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,” Biden said.

“So to be clear: our bipartisan agreement does not preclude Republicans from attempting to defeat my Families Plan; likewise, they should have no objections to my devoted efforts to pass that Families Plan and other proposals in tandem. We will let the American people—and the Congress—decide,” he continued. “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.”

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In the following days, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSenators scramble to save infrastructure deal Overnight Health Care: New round of vaccine mandates | Health groups call for mandates for all health workers | Rising case count reignites debate over restrictions On The Money: Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds | Trump tells Republicans to walk away | GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden MORE attempted to save the agreement by explaining what he meant by “tandem” bills and deferred the process back to the senators.

Despite best efforts to salvage the bipartisan framework, the well was poisoned. Weeks later, trust between the two sides continues to deteriorate as Democrats continue their bad faith efforts by demanding Republicans vote on an infrastructure agreement without language. Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer84 mayors call for immigration to be included in reconciliation Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds Could Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? MORE (D-N.Y.) argues a vote will simply “get the process started.” Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios House rejects GOP effort to seat McCarthy's picks for Jan. 6 panel Senators scramble to save infrastructure deal MORE (R-Ky.) isn’t buying it.

“We need to see the bill before voting to go to it,” McConnell said. “I think that’s pretty easily understood.”

When Republicans refuse to vote on a plan that doesn’t have language, eliminating chances of anything passing, Democrats will no doubt accuse them — dishonestly — of killing a bipartisan deal. But it was Biden who gave up the spending strategy, Democrats who gamed the negotiations and they’ll be responsible when infrastructure falls through.

Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.