Biden Refuses to Sign Bipartisan Deal Without Separate Partisan Package

Biden Refuses to Sign Bipartisan Deal Without Separate Partisan Package

( – President Joe Biden strutted out gleefully with a small bipartisan group of senators at the White House on Thursday, June 24. After weeks of bipartisan infrastructure negotiations, the president thinks he finally got what he wanted. Well, Biden sort of got what he wanted. Or did he?

Biden signed off on a nearly $1 trillion traditional infrastructure proposal after meeting with five Democrats and five Republicans. At one point, he patted Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) on the shoulder and exclaimed, “we did it.” Then it happened. It was a puzzling moment of mental jujitsu. Hours later, during a press conference, Biden said he wouldn’t sign the bipartisan deal unless he got a “human infrastructure” partisan reconciliation bill to go with it.

So, where is the bipartisanship?

As Biden tries to appease both the Left and the Right in an evenly divided Congress, he’s demanding the impossible.

Is Biden Trying to Blow Up the Bipartisan Deal?

Not long after Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) declared that democracy as embodied by America and the Senate “works” and that both parties “can work together,” the bipartisan deal started to crumble. In a move that was both shocking and questionable, Biden acknowledged the bipartisan effort was a ruse. It was never genuine. It was nothing more than a political stunt to try to prove to the country that he was willing to work with the other side when, in fact, he wasn’t.

Early Thursday evening, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Fox News host Brett Baier that the president totally undermined the good-faith bipartisan deal by threatening to veto it if the Left doesn’t present him a big-ticket giveaway program. McConnell added that Biden caved to the left-wing.

It’s difficult to argue with McConnell’s assessment. Biden’s weird reversal was a self-inflicted wound for Democrats. They won’t be able to successfully argue they tried bipartisanship. The president claimed that it was “understood” from the beginning that the second bill, through partisan reconciliation, would need to accompany the bipartisan deal.

Really? Did Republicans know that? Because it sure doesn’t sound like they did.

Some Democrats, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), don’t even want Republicans involved at all. She tweeted that bipartisanship was akin to racism. No big surprise there. She and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) want a $6 trillion (or more) program for free college, healthcare, child care, and Green New Deal initiatives. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said the Left wouldn’t support any bill or process that excludes their agenda.

Is Infrastructure Doomed?

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) chimed in. She said the House wouldn’t vote on a bipartisan bill unless the Senate bypasses the GOP through reconciliation to pass their massive spending plan. It may be much more challenging than Biden, Pelosi, or left-leaning Democrats hoped it would be. It’s hard to imagine that on Friday morning, Moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Jon Tester (D-MT) weren’t feeling at least a little scorned.

Before all the brouhaha on Thursday evening, Manchin expressed serious doubt on Thursday morning about getting behind the reconciliation package. Sinema recently signaled that she couldn’t get behind that much spending.

If that holds, where does that leave Biden and the Democrats? If one Senate Democrat defects, it’s game over.

Biden says he’s not going to rest until both packages get to his desk. It seems he alienated the key players he needs to get at least one piece to his desk, let alone both. It’ll be a while before the president rests.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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