President Joe Biden reached a deal with a group of bipartisan senators on an infrastructure package, but said he would only sign it at the same time as a larger bill Democrats want to pass with a simple majority, Reuters reports.
Biden and the group reached a deal that would provide about $579 billion in new funding for roads, broadband internet, electric utilities, and other projects.
“I think it’s really important we’ve all agreed that none of us got all that we wanted,” he said after a meeting at the White House on Thursday. “This agreement signals to the world that we can function, deliver and do significant things,” he added.
It’s not clear if the deal, which has the support of five Republicans, has enough support to overcome a filibuster. But if it does pass, it would be the first bipartisan bill since 2009 to fund infrastructure.
The bill would provide $312 billion for transportation projects, $65 billion for broadband, $55 billion for waterways, and $47 billion for climate change projects.
The bill would be paid for through increased IRS audits of the wealthy, private financing, and toll fees.
But only with bigger bill:
“If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” Biden warned on Thursday. “It’s in tandem.”
The comments came after progressives balked at the bipartisan bill, which is far short of Biden’s proposal and lacks the climate funding and other projects pushed by the left.
Prior to Biden’s comments, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made clear that “we will not take up a bill in the House until the Senate passes the bipartisan bill and a reconciliation bill. If there is no bipartisan bill, then we’ll just go when the Senate passes a reconciliation bill.”
“I’m very optimistic that it will happen. And I don’t want to say allay the fears — I don’t think they’re fears, they’re just advocating. And God bless them for doing that. But we’re not going down the path unless we all go down the path together,” she added.
Some Republicans who were not part of the negotiations lashed out over Biden’s ultimatum.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who previously supported a bipartisan plan, said that he would not support the deal.
“If he’s gonna tie them together, he can forget it!” Graham told Politico. “I’m not doing that. That’s extortion! I’m not going to do that. The Dems are being told you can’t get your bipartisan work product passed unless you sign on to what the left wants, and I’m not playing that game.”
“Most Republicans could not have known that,” he said. “There's no way. You look like a fucking idiot now… I don’t mind bipartisanship, but I’m not going to do a suicide mission.”