Hours after President Joe Biden boasted about his bipartisan negotiating skills on the heels of securing a compromise on a massive infrastructure bill with Republicans, the 78-year-old president uttered one little sentence in front of reporters that could kill the entire deal.
According to Fox News, after he told reporters it felt like the good ol’ days in Congress when the parties could hammer out deals, he revealed his terms and conditions for signing the $1 trillion deal, which included a “tandem” bill that includes all of the Democrat-inserted pet projects and pork that was stripped out of the main deal to appease Republicans — a comment that left his staffers scrambling to correct.
“If this (bipartisan deal) is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it,” Biden said. “It’s in tandem.”
As one could imagine, Republicans issued immediate criticism for Biden’s seeming bait-and-switch tactics, as the GOP negotiators involved certainly didn’t sign on for a compromised bill just to have another bill that includes wish-list items for Democrats pass as a condition.
“Democratic leadership and @POTUS holding the historic bipartisan infrastructure agreement hostage was never discussed with us & was not part of the deal we agreed to,” tweeted Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) over the weekend, echoing similar statements from his GOP colleagues.
According to NPR, Biden and his people worked overtime over the past weekend in an attempt to allay concerns that he was holding the infrastructure deal hostage. The damage control even included Biden issuing a statement of clarification — not common for this administration.
“The bottom line is this: I gave my word to support the Infrastructure Plan, and that’s what I intend to do,” Biden’s statement read.
“I intend to pursue the passage of that plan, which Democrats and Republicans agreed to on Thursday, with vigor. It would be good for the economy, good for our country, good for our people. I fully stand behind it without reservation or hesitation,” the president added.
Biden would go on to conclude his statement by doubling down in what appeared to be an effort to make it clear that his bipartisan infrastructure would pass regardless of whether Republicans attacked the second “soft” infrastructure bill, though that’s literally the exact opposite of what he said in his original threat.