President Joe Biden said Thursday that he has no plans to sign a bipartisan infrastructure package unless it’s accompanied by a reconciliation bill.
Biden, alongside the five Democratic senators and five Republican senators making up the bipartisan group, emerged from the West Wing Thursday and announced a deal on a much-debated infrastructure bill. After briefly speaking with the press, the president held a more official event where he gave remarks and answered further questions about the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal.
While Biden touted his efforts to garner a bipartisan agreement and declared that anything can be accomplished when lawmakers “work together,” he also spoke about a reconciliation bill to pass items touching on Democratic-backed topics like climate change and free community college.
“If this is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” Biden declared. “It’s in tandem.”
“I’m not just signing the bipartisan bill and forgetting about the rest that I proposed,” Biden continued shortly after. “I proposed a significant piece of legislation in three parts. And all three parts are equally important.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed earlier Thursday at a press conference at the Capitol to hold up the bipartisan infrastructure deal “until the Senate passes the bipartisan bill and a reconciliation bill.” Biden told reporters he backs Pelosi’s plan.
“Let me be really clear on this: we will not take up a bill in the House until the Senate passes the bipartisan bill and a reconciliation bill,” Pelosi said. (RELATED: Democrats Threaten To Tank Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Without A Complementary Reconciliation Package)
The reconciliation bill is unlikely to garner Republican support as it will be a larger package made up of various priorities for Democrats. This bill can be passed without a GOP filibuster by using Senate budget rules that require a simple majority, The Hill reported.
Still, the reconciliation bill could face hurdles, as Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin hasn’t confirmed he’s on board. Manchin said he’s “working on it” regarding the package, but hasn’t yet promised to back some of Biden’s more progressive plans through reconciliation, as USA Today reported.
“One can’t be done without the other,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, according to USA Today. “We can’t get the bipartisan bill done unless we’re sure we’re getting the budget reconciliation bill done.”
The bipartisan infrastructure package has $579 billion in new spending and focuses on infrastructure like roads, bridges and sewer pipes, among other items. It avoids implementing a gas tax increase, an item the Biden administration has repeatedly expressed opposition to. It also does not implement a corporate tax hike, which is favorable to Republicans.