Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the United States Senate, requested President Joe Biden on Monday to persuade the two top Democrats in Congress to drop a proposal to tie a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal to a broader reconciliation bill that Republicans oppose.
Days after Biden backed down from an initial demand that the two pieces of legislation move through Congress simultaneously, McConnell warned that the president’s move would be “a hollow gesture” if Biden’s fellow Democrats – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – did not follow suit.
Following the announcement of the bipartisan agreement on Thursday, Biden appeared to jeopardize it by stating that he would not sign it unless it was included in a bigger plan that would raise taxes on businesses and the affluent while also tackling climate change and social concerns.
His remarks enraged Republicans who had been negotiating the bipartisan accord until Biden made a statement on Saturday effectively rescinding his warning, claiming it was “absolutely not my goal.”
Republican Senate negotiators hailed the reversal, saying on Sunday that they were once again confident about passing the bipartisan bill through Congress.