US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has threatened that he will throw his support behind the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan so long as the bipartisan effort fails to include a provision for a reconciliation bill.
Sanders filed the remarks over the weekend on social media, telling netizens the newly-announced infrastructure compromise must and should include a provision that will allow for major investments in child care, affordable housing and climate action, among other progressive priorities.
"Let me be clear: There will not be a bipartisan infrastructure deal without a reconciliation bill that substantially improves the lives of working families and combats the existential threat of climate change," Sanders stated in a Sunday tweet.
"No reconciliation bill, no deal. We need transformative change NOW."
Sanders’ commentary largely echoed those previously made by both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who earlier reiterated that the infrastructure measure would only clear both congressional chambers with the reconciliation bill attached.
Incidentally, the Vermont lawmaker’s Sunday tweet also came in the wake of Biden walking back past comments that suggested the president would veto the bipartisan bill if it failed to include the larger reconciliation package. The commander-in-chief made the clarifying comments on Saturday.
It’s worth noting that Biden previously acknowledged that he would be addressing his “human infrastructure” push, which includes bolstered funding for social programs such as child care and education, as part of a “dual track” effort.
The reconciliation effort would effectively pave the way for the administration’s endeavor, as the bid would bypass the need for Republican votes in the Senate, where Democrats hold only a slim majority over their counterparts.
Although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has remained publicly undecided on the bill, which was negotiated on by five members of the GOP, the lawmaker accused Democrats on Monday of holding the infrastructure bill “hostage over a separate and partisan process,” marking his very first take on the stalemate since Biden’s Saturday reversal.
Aside from McConnell, multiple senators who make up the 21 Republicans in support of the infrastructure deal have called on Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to provide assurances that the package will not be linked to the reconciliation bill.
The Senate is expected to vote on the bipartisan bill and a budget resolution that will include instructions for the reconciliation effort in July, with the Senate Budget Committee holding talks this week to outline details.