President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he hoped to strike a bipartisan deal on the more traditional elements of his infrastructure plan, but was willing to pass other parts of his proposal that address the social safety net without Republican support.
“I want to get a bipartisan deal on as much as we can get a bipartisan deal on. And that means roads, bridges, broadband, infrastructure. But I am not giving up on the fact that we have 2 million women not able to go back to work because all the day care centers are closed or out of business,” Biden said in an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.
“I want to know what can we agree on, and let’s see if we can get an agreement to kick start this, and then fight over what’s left, and see if I can get it done without Republicans if need be," Biden continued.
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Biden’s comments came shortly after he hosted Democratic and Republican congressional leaders at the White House for a meeting on his $2.2 trillion American Jobs Plan, marking his first sit-down with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell since taking office in January.
Republicans have criticized Biden’s infrastructure plan for being too broad and have said that the president’s proposal to partially reverse the 2017 tax cuts on wealthy Americans in order to pay for his plan is a non-starter. Republicans have also complained that Biden is not sincere about his desire to reach across the aisle.
Biden said that how to pay for his plan was not the focus of conversation during Wednesday's meeting, but rather "what constitutes infrastructure."
Biden hopes for 'compromise' in infrastructure meeting with congressional leaders
MAY 12, 202103:27
The president does not need Republican support to pass his American Jobs Plan if he can hold together all 50 Democratic votes in the Senate and maintain most of the his votes in the House. But the White House has placed a premium on getting a bipartisan piece of legislation signed into law and Biden has stated on a number of occasions that he was eager and willing to negotiate.
Biden also met this week with moderate Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, whose support he is still trying to lock up for the bill. On Thursday, he will meet with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who is working on a bipartisan counterproposal to the measure, along with five other Republican senators.
The White House has said that they hope to make progress on the plan by Memorial Day with the goal of singing the plan into law by the end of the summer.