Scalise: White House Isn't Reaching Out for Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., during a House Republican Leadership press conference, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 14 April 2021 01:04 PM
Republicans want to work on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, but the Biden White House is not reaching out to party congressional leaders to come up with a plan that could meet with approval from both sides, House Minority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., said Wednesday.
"There has been a lot of interest going back to President [Donald] Trump in getting a bipartisan infrastructure deal," Scalise said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi walked out of multiple meetings at the White House when Trump was president and he was trying to get a bipartisan agreement."
Scalise said Republicans have reached out, and "they won't talk to us. They just want to go it alone, like they did on that non-COVID $1.9 trillion spending bill. Here they go with trillions more in a Soviet-style infrastructure dream list of the left."
However, leaders of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus scheduled a meeting with key White House officials Wednesday while the administration continues its push to enlist moderate support of President Joe Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and counselor Steve Ricchetti are to receive the caucus' co-chairs, Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and several other caucus members from both parties were to attend.
Also, on Monday, Biden met with another bipartisan group of eight lawmakers, four from each party, in the Oval Office, telling them he's willing to negotiate on his infrastructure plan and how it would be funded.
Scalise, meanwhile, accused Pelosi of pushing a "Socialist agenda" over the past few months because Democrats "control all levers of power," but that is starting to catch up with members who are less far-left.
"They don't really have any moderates left," he said. "Even the liberal members are starting to have angst because they are voting against the will of their own districts and people are starting to get fed up."
And as result, he added, spending is out of control, and higher taxes are being proposed "all under the guise of infrastructure."
"Over 90% of what they're proposing has nothing to do with roads or bridges," Scalise said. "They are talking about child care…they are going to do Green New Deal policies that have nothing to do with infrastructure."
He added that the National Association of Manufacturers has said the Biden plan will "cost over a million more jobs. These are hard-working, blue-collar jobs that we'll be losing if they get their way in a Democrat-only bill. I don't think that's good for America. It surely isn't infrastructure."
Scalise also discussed the ongoing crisis at the nation's border, which he blamed on Biden's executive actions.
"He could, today, start fixing this problem," said Scalise, pointing out that Trump-era policies such as the agreement to keep migrants in Mexico while their asylum cases were being determined "worked incredibly well."
"If you want to come to America legally there is a process to do it," he said. "We let a million people a year in legally. We are the most generous nation in the world. What you are seeing today is thousands of people a day coming over illegally because president Biden said America's border is open."