President Joe Biden is getting local with the bipartisan infrastructure deal as he jets off to Wisconsin Tuesday morning after being forced to walk back on linking the bill to reconciliation with his massive ‘human’ infrastructure plan.
Republicans and progressive Democrats took up issue with the plan – but for very different reasons – after the deal was reached Thursday by Biden and a group of 10 bipartisan lawmakers.
Far left lawmakers claim that the $1.2 trillion deal doesn’t go far enough and isn’t inclusive of minority communities while Republicans were enraged with the president when he tied infrastructure to his American Families Plan.
On Saturday, Biden walked back on the comments, claiming they were never meant as a veto threat to the deal he had just reached a few days prior.
Biden will tour La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility in Wisconsin on Tuesday and later deliver remarks promoting the bipartisan infrastructure framework.
He is likely to try and reaffirm his commitment to bipartisanship to Republicans and centrist Democrats, while reassuring the far-left faction of his party that the package includes liberal initiatives.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez participated in a protest Monday outside the White House demanding that Biden include climate change initiatives in the infrastructure package.
The New York congresswoman was joined by progressive Representatives Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush at the protest organized by left-wing Sunrise Movement.
President Joe Biden will travel to Wisconsin on Tuesday to promote the bipartisan infrastructure bill after chaos erupted when he linked its passage to the American Families Plan and progressives said the deal didn’t go far enough
Biden speaks to press as he departs the White House on Tuesday morning for Wisconsin
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined a protest outside the White House on Monday where she demanded that Biden include more climate initiatives in the package
‘We’re going to get that into this infrastructure bill,’ the progressive New York lawmakers told the crowd of the Civilian Climate Corps
AOC embraces fellow progressive Representative Cori Bush at the ‘No Climate, No Deal’ demonstration organized by the left-wing Sunrise Movement
The demonstration was pushing for Biden to prioritize fighting climate change in the infrastructure bill and to include a provision creating AOC’s proposed Civilian Climate Corps.
‘They want you to think, ‘Oh, this is a new idea, this is too ambitious, this is too crazy.’ How about this? The last time we introduced the Civilian Climate Corps in this country, we hired and mobilized a quarter-million people in three months,’ Ocasio-Cortez told the crowd.
The New Deal-type program, similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps, would create a federal focus on job creation in renewable energy sectors and other green industries.
‘We’re going to get that into this infrastructure bill,’ said the congresswoman who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens.
On Thursday, Biden and a group of five Republican and five Democratic senators announced from the White House driveway that they had finally reached a deal on an infrastructure bill that they felt could pass Congress with bipartisan support.
During a press conference on the deal later on Thursday, however, the president said: ‘If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it.’
Biden announced with a group of 10 bipartisan lawmakers on Thursday they reached a deal on infrastructure. But shortly after, Republicans were infuriated when Biden said: ‘If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it’
He walked back on that comment on Saturday, saying he didn’t mean to link the two bills
This led to immediate fury from Republicans, who claimed there was never any ‘side deal’ that made the infrastructure deal reliant on Congress also passing Biden’s $2.5 trillion American Families Plan, which includes a slew of social programs and tax increases.
On Saturday, Biden backtracked on that comment.
‘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,’ Biden wrote in his statement released Saturday.
‘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,’ he added.
Senator Rob Portman, a Republican who worked to reach the deal and appeared alongside Biden on Thursday, said: ‘I 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.’
‘We were all blindsided by the comments the previous day, which were that somehow these two bills were connected – the reconciliation bill, which is a trillion dollars of social spending that’s going to be entirely partisan, the largest tax increase in American history, on the one hand. And the other hand the infrastructure bill, which is bipartisan, has no taxes, focuses on core infrastructure and has been bipartisan from the start.,’ the Ohio senator told ABC’s This Week on Sunday.
Biden salutes as he board Air Force One for Wisconsin to promote the infrastructure package
Despite Biden’s walk back, Republicans are still concerned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could make the two bills’ passage reliant on one another.
‘The President has appropriately delinked a potential bipartisan infrastructure bill from the massive, unrelated tax-and-spend plans that Democrats want to pursue on a partisan basis,’ Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Monday.
The Kentucky senator continued: ‘Now I am calling on President Biden to engage Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi and make sure they follow his lead.’
‘Unless Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi walk-back their threats that they will refuse to send the president a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless they also separately pass trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism, then President Biden’s walk-back of his veto threat would be a hollow gesture,’ McConnell continued.
He also said Biden’s reversal would be a ‘hollow gesture’ if Pelosi and Schumer didn’t cooperate.
‘The president cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process,’ McConnell said.
Mitch McConnell praised Biden for walking back. He said, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer need to agree or it’s just a ‘hallow gesture’
Biden’s clarification was not popular with liberal Democrats like AOC and Senator Bernie Sanders.
‘Let me be clear: There will not be a bipartisan infrastructure deal without a reconciliation bill that substantially improves the lives of working families and combats the existential threat of climate change . No reconciliation bill, no deal. We need transformative change NOW,’ Sanders tweeted.
Fellow progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren posted to Twitter: ‘Understand this: We’re not leaving child care behind. We’re not leaving green energy behind. And we’re not going to make America’s middle-class families pick up the ticket for this package. It’s time for billionaires and big corporations to step up.’
Ocasio-Cortez says Biden shouldn’t be ‘limited by Republicans’ while Democrats have control of the executive and legislative branches.
She has also argued adamantly for Democrats getting rid of the filibuster so they can pass more without any support from the other side of the aisle.
Centrist Democrats, however, like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are against nixing the filibuster.
Manchin has said he won’t support any massive legislative packages in the Senate unless it has some GOP cooperation.