Bernie Sanders: Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill 'Ain't Gonna Happen' Without Reconciliation
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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told SiriusXM’s Dean Obeidallah on Thursday that a bipartisan deal on infrastructure ''ain’t gonna happen'' unless there’s also a ''major reconciliation bill'' that concerns climate change, Medicare expansion and other progressive issues.
President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the White House made ''a deal'' with a bipartisan group of senators on infrastructure, but several Democrat senators have already criticized the agreement.
''They have my word. I’ll stick with what we’ve proposed, and they’ve given me their word as well,'' Biden said during a press conference, according to CNBC. ''None of us got all that we wanted. I didn’t get all that I wanted. But this reminds me of the days we used to get an awful lot done up in the United States Congress.''
Sanders said the same day on SiriusXM’s ''The Dean Obeidallah Show,'' ''Let me be very clear. If you hear from the president and you hear from [Senate Majority Leader New York Democrat] Chuck Schumer on this issue ... There will not be a bipartisan agreement unless, written in stone, there is an understanding that there will be a major, major [spending] reconciliation bill ... there will not be one without the other one.
"We're not going to say we’re going to invest in roads and bridges, but we're going to forget about climate, we're going to forget about children, were going to forget about working people or the elderly ... ain’t going to happen.''
When asked if there’s a path to move forward on infrastructure, Sanders said: ''Yes, there is a way. There are ways that you can do it. There will not be a bipartisan bill unless written in stone we're going to go forward with a major reconciliation bill. But now for whatever reason, you have people who want to go forward with a bipartisan bill — I don't fully understand it.
"The problem with that bill is not what they're trying to do. We need to rebuild roads, bridges, tunnels, etc. Not a problem there. The problem is how are they going to pay for it, which as of now, they still have come up with a way to do that.''
He added that the more ambitious programs ''ain’t gonna happen'' in a smaller bipartisan bill.
''You can quote me on that,'' Sanders said.
Sanders is joined in his criticism by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with Blumenthal describing the bill as ''way too small,'' as well as ''paltry'' and ''pathetic,'' whereas Warren said that ''we have to have the whole thing, not just cleave off a little piece of it.''
Biden acknowledged the difficult time he may have convincing Democrats of the deal in his remarks on Thursday.
''My party is divided. But my party’s also rational,'' he said. ''If they can’t get every single thing they want, but all that they have in the bill before them is good, are they going to vote 'no'? I don’t think so.''