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Joe Biden is walking back remarks that he wouldn’t sign the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill unless Congress also passed a much more contested family aide plan, following outrage from Republicans that threatened the fragile comprise.
“The bottom line is this: I gave my word to support the Infrastructure Plan, and that’s what I intend to do,” Mr Biden said in a statement on Saturday. “I intend to pursue the passage of that plan, which Democrats and Republicans agreed to on Thursday, with vigor.”
The Biden administration on Thursday announced it had negotiated a compromise with Senate Republicans for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, a rare bipartisan agreement in a congressional climate where the GOP has opposed virtually everything the administration has suggested, including the coronavirus relief bill which passed earlier this year without a single Republican vote.
Then, Mr Biden nearly tanked the agreement after saying he wouldn’t pass the infrastructure package unless it arrived alongside his American Families Plan, which invests in education, health care, child care, and other Democratic priorities.
“If they don’t (both) come, I’m not signing it. Real simple,” the president said.
That provoked instant condemnation from Republicans like Lindsey Graham, one of the GOP negotiators on the package.
“No deal by extortion!” he wrote on Twitter on Friday. “It was never suggested to me during these negotiations that President Biden was holding hostage the bipartisan infrastructure proposal unless a liberal reconciliation package was also passed.”