Biden Walks Back Infrastructure Vow, Says ‘Veto Threat … Not My Intent’

Photo by Chip Somodevilla. Getty.

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
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President Joe Biden walked back his comments that seemingly linked the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure agreement to a Democratic plan for more antipoverty spending.

Biden said Thursday he would not sign the bipartisan infrastructure plan unless Congress gave him a package of child-care, climate, education and other provisions that do not have GOP support. In response, GOP leaders threatened to withdraw their support for the bipartisan deal. (RELATED: Biden Says He Won’t Sign Bipartisan Infrastructure Package Without Reconciliation Bill)

“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,” Biden said in a statement. “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.”

An anonymous source told The Wall Street Journal that 11 Republican senators who supported the bipartisan deal allegedly met over Zoom Friday to discuss Biden’s comments. Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham allegedly almost withdrew his support, and tweeted Friday, “No deal by extortion!”

Senate Democrats want to pass the antipoverty bill that has these provisions under simple majority budget reconciliation.