Biden stated that he did not mean to suggest that he would veto the $1 trillion infrastructure bill in his earlier comments unless Congress also passed a $4 billion package that he and other Democrats want to approve along party lines.
On Thursday, just moments after fulfilled his hopes of reaching an bipartisan agreement , Biden seemed to have put the deal in doubt with his comment that infrastructure bills would need to be moved in "tandem", with the larger bill.
Although Biden made it clear that he would seek the huge new spending for childcare, Medicare, and other investments, Republicans disagreed with the notion of the president not signing one without the other. Biden stated that the infrastructure bill was his only option. It's in tandem."
Biden sought to clarify these comments on Saturday after top negotiators Steve Ricchetti (Louisa Terrell) worked to assure senators that Biden was still enthusiastic about the deal.
Biden stated in a statement that "my comments also gave the impression that I was issuing an ultimatum on the exact plan I had just signed to,"
Biden stated, "I will pursue the passage of this plan, which Democrats & Republicans agreed to on Thursday with vigor." It would be good for the country, our economy, and our people. It is something I stand by without hesitation or reservation."
Some Republicans were critical of Biden's remarks earlier, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who tweeted Friday: "No deal by exortion!" Others felt "blindsided", as they claimed that it was a shift in how they understood his position.
According to one person, tensions seemed to ease afterward when senators from the group were able to convene a conference call. This was under the condition that they not be identified in order to discuss the private meeting.
"My hope is we'll still get it done," stated Sen. In an interview with The Associated Press, Rob Portman, Ohio, was the leading Republican negotiator. "Our infrastructure is in poor shape."
According to the White House, Biden will travel to Wisconsin on Tuesday as part of a national tour to promote the infrastructure bill.
These sudden swings indicate the long and difficult road ahead to enacting Biden's almost $4 trillion infrastructure plans.
Both the bipartisan plan as well as a second bill, which would move through Congress under special rules that allow for passage only with majority Democrats votes, were expected to go together. The total amount of $6 trillion is now swelling. Biden stated that Saturday was his plan, but did not condition one.
His statement stated, "So to be precise," that "our bipartisan agreement doesn't preclude Republicans from trying to defeat my Families Plan; similarly, they should not have any objections to me dedicating my efforts to pass that Families Plan, and other proposals in tandem."
After a month of intense negotiations about Biden's top legislative priority, the White House outreach didn't convince all senators.
Two-track strategy by the Democrats has been to look at both the bipartisan agreement and their more sweeping priorities side-by side in order to assure liberals that the smaller deal will not be the only one.