McConnell Looks to Drive Wedge Between Democrats Over Spending Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., listens during a news briefing after the weekly Senate Republican Policy Luncheon at the U.S. Capitol June 22, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
By Theodore Bunker | Monday, 28 June 2021 12:36 PM
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Monday that Democrats are trying to hold the bipartisan infrastructure bill "hostage" to force the passage of a major spending bill that would raise taxes on corporations.
McConnell said that President Joe Biden should ask Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to agree to remove the spending bill as a requirement for passing the infrastructure bill after the president backtracked on a vow to hold off on signing an infrastructure package unless a separate spending bill is also passed.
"The President has appropriately delinked a potential bipartisan infrastructure bill from the massive, unrelated tax-and-spend plans that Democrats want to pursue on a partisan basis. Now I am calling on President Biden to engage Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi and make sure they follow his lead," the Kentucky Republican said in a statement.
"Unless Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi walk-back their threats that they will refuse to send the president a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless they also separately pass trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism, then President Biden’s walk-back of his veto threat would be a hollow gesture," McConnell added.
"The President cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process," he said.
"Joe Biden reversed his threat to veto a bipartisan infrastructure bill if it isn’t accompanied by a $6 trillion socialist boondoggle. Will Speaker Pelosi do the same?" the National Republican Campaign Committee said in an email to reporters on Monday, according to The Hill.
In response, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., tweeted that "Mitch McConnell’s all consuming motivation is to stop anything from passing when Democrats are in control. It’s what he wakes up thinking about, it’s what he eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s what he dreams about at night. That’s what’s going on today."
In a press conference on Monday, McConnell said that "bipartisan support for a significant infrastructure package" exists and he’d "like to see us get there," but said that Democrats must uncouple the bills if Republicans are going to support the infrastructure agreement.
"I appreciate the president saying that he's willing to deal with infrastructure separately but he doesn't control the Congress. And the speaker and the majority leader of the Senate will determine the order," McConnell said, noting that the deal that Biden reached with GOP senators did not include an "agreement" to link the infrastructure bill with a progressive spending bill.