Earlier this week, Joe Biden joined hands with the likes of Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski to announce a ‘bipartisan’ infrastructure deal. The $1.2 trillion package was meant to be a compromise between the original monstrosity proposed by Democrats and simply not passing anything at all.
Yet, no sooner than the jubilant photo op ended, Biden had blown up the deal by saying the quiet part out loud in regards to what the Democrats planned to do. Whereas the Republicans saw the deal as a substitute for the original proposal, Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer all wanted to tie passage of it to the passage of a reconciliation bill that would give Democrats everything else they wanted.
To a normal person, that probably seems crazy. Why would Republicans make a deal in the first place, if Democrats planned on cramming through everything that was conceded via reconciliation? Doesn’t that completely defeat the purpose of the deal? It’s like making a deal to buy a house, only to have the buyer demand twice as much at closing.
As I wrote at the time, Republicans got played. They thought they were going to unify with Democrats to pass just the meat and potatoes of the infrastructure wishlist. Instead, after they stuck their necks out to support $1.2 trillion in new spending, Biden pulled the rug out from under them.
BIDEN: If they don’t come [in tandem] I’m not signing them.
REPORTER: Do you support then, Speaker Pelosi’s stated plan to hold the bipartisan deal in the House until the Senate also passes reconciliation? Do you support that sequencing on her part?
BIDEN: Yes. pic.twitter.com/yY6rU2KNCF
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) June 24, 2021
Now, realizing what he’s done, Biden is backtracking fast. He’s put out a new statement claiming he did not mean exactly what he said, i.e. that he would not sign the bipartisan deal until reconciliation was passed.
Here’s his new position.
NEWS: POTUS clarifies he does not intend to veto bipartisan deal if it comes to bis desk w/o reconciliation. Assures GOP they can still support bipartisan plan and oppose the rest.
🚨 POTUS will kick off travel tour Tuesday highlighting Econ benefits of agreement w/ speech in WI
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) June 26, 2021
To be clear, this is in no way a clarification on Biden’s part. Rather, it’s a complete reversal of his prior position. Also, notice that Biden does not mention Pelosi’s plan to hold the bipartisan deal hostage. That’s purposeful, as it allows the president to attempt to play both sides of the fence.
Regardless, there is absolutely no excuse for Republicans to fall for this scheme again. Biden is not to be trusted, and in reality, that has little to do with anything Biden himself may or may not do. It is the Senate that will ultimately pass or not pass a reconciliation bill. It is Pelosi that will choose whether to advance the bipartisan compromise in the House. Biden has no control over either of those things. In other words, his promises are meaningless and should be discarded.
The GOP has yet another opportunity to walk away from the table. They should take it. This has gone on far enough and enough egg has been placed on the face of Republicans. Democrats are not operating in good faith and have no plans to do so. There is also no logical reason to make a “deal” with Biden, if he plans on ramming through the rest of his wishlist via reconciliation. All Republicans are doing at that point is legitimizing part of the spending as bipartisan — for nothing in return.
In short, the concessions made in the deal mean nothing, if it doesn’t also take reconciliation off the table, and with Biden flip-flopping on that issue multiple times now, trust has been thoroughly broken. Walk away.