Skip to Content

Biden tries to walk back comments on infrastructure bill to stem GOP defections


By Arlette Saenz and Donald Judd, CNN

President Joe Biden on Saturday tried to walk back remarks from earlier this week when he said he wouldn’t sign a bipartisan bill on infrastructure unless it came paired with a reconciliation proposal for “human infrastructure,” the latest in a series of cleanup efforts from the White House seeking to stem defections from the newly-announced bipartisan agreement.

Biden wrote in the Saturday statement that his comments “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.”

“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.”

Still, Biden said, “I have been clear from the start that it was my hope that the infrastructure plan could be one that Democrats and Republicans would work on together, while I would seek to pass my Families Plan and other provisions through the process known as reconciliation.”

The statement stands in contrast to Biden’s East Room remarks Thursday, where he warned, “What I expect — 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 — if this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem.”

The remarks quickly drew criticism from Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who warned in floor remarks Thursday, “That’s no way to show you’re serious about getting a bipartisan outcome.”

On Friday, Steve Ricchetti and Louisa Terrell, two of Biden’s lead infrastructure negotiators, reached out to members of the bipartisan Senate group amid the Republican furor over Biden’s remarks about the legislative process, according to a White House official.

Earlier Friday, White House aides scheduled a midday call with Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who’d led negotiations for Senate Democrats, to reassure her of where Biden stood. In a readout, the White House said Biden and Sinema discussed his plan to try to build support for the agreement among both Democrats and Republicans. A senior administration official acknowledged they were attempting to walk back Biden’s remarks and directly tied his conversation with Sinema to that effort.

Biden will take his sales pitch for the bipartisan infrastructure agreement on the road, starting with a speech in Wisconsin on Tuesday, a White House official said.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

CNN Newsource


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content