Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, one of many lawmakers negotiating a bipartisan infrastructure package deal, stated Sunday that President Biden had “calmed” the waters — after roiling them days earlier by saying he wouldn’t signal the laws until it was paired with a extra formidable invoice.
“I do take the president at his word,” Romney stated on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
When Biden introduced the foremost infrastructure deal on Thursday, he celebrated the settlement as an indication that he may navigate bitterly divided Washington politics. But he rapidly undermined the negotiations by saying he would solely signal the laws if it have been introduced to him “in tandem” with a separate invoice that features different Democratic spending priorities.
“If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” Biden stated.
Democrats had been pursuing a two-observe course of on the 2 packages. They hoped a bipartisan compromise on infrastructure may overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold within the Senate. That laws amounted to $1.2 trillion in spending over eight years, with greater than $500 million in new spending.
And Democrats aimed to move the extra expansive package deal, referred to as the American Families Plan, through the sophisticated reconciliation course of for price range laws, which solely requires solely 50 votes, permitting it to move on a partisan vote if Democrats are unified. The American Families Plan tackles a number of different Democratic priorities, together with training and local weather change, and contains tax hikes on rich Americans.
President Biden discusses infrastructure negotiations within the White House on Thursday. (AP/Evan Vucci)
Biden’s assertion Thursday took Republican negotiators like Romney unexpectedly, kicking off a tumultuous 48 hours.
“Over the weeks and weeks in negotiations with Democrats and with the White House on an infrastructure bill, the president’s other agenda was never linked to the infrastructure effort,” Romney stated Sunday.
“I didn’t understand the president to take that position,” stated Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.
Other negotiators have been much more blunt.
“No deal by extortion!” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., exclaimed on Twitter. “It was never suggested to me during these negotiations that President Biden was holding hostage the bipartisan infrastructure proposal unless a liberal reconciliation package was also passed.”
CNN anchor Jake Tapper, left, interviews Sen. Mitt Romney on Sunday. (Screenshot: Twitter/@CNNSotu)
“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 stated.
He added: “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 on Thursday, with vigor. It would be good for the economy, good for our country, good for our people. I fully stand behind it without reservation or hesitation.”
Romney stated Sunday that he takes Biden “at his word,” including that the president is “a man of honor.”
“A lot of my colleagues were very concerned about what the president was saying on Friday. But I think the waters have been calmed by what he said on Saturday,” Romney informed CNN. “And, look, I called the White House, and the White House called around to each of us who had been negotiating and said, ‘OK, look, we’re going to make clear exactly what the president means.’”
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