The Biden administration extended its self-imposed deadline to get an “infrastructure” deal with Republicans that may signal trouble for the package.
In interviews, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg created a deadline of Memorial Day to have a bipartisan agreement on a sweeping plan that redefined traditional infrastructure to include such things as healthcare and electric vehicles.
“We know that this is entering a legislative process where we’re going to be hearing from both sides of the aisle, and I think you’ll find the president’s got a very open mind. But time is of the essence,” Buttgieg said in April.
“So we’ll look at these ideas on how to pay for it. We’ll look at ideas on where the investments ought to be, too. But the president is hoping for major progress from Congress before Memorial Day,” he said.
“And we can’t allow this thing to just keep dragging on, because the need is there today.”
As Memorial Day approached and no deal was in sight, Buttigieg pushed out the deadline by a week.
“By the time that they return, which is June 7 just a week from tomorrow, we need a clear direction,” Buttigieg told CNN on Sunday, according to CNBC.
“The President keeps saying, ‘inaction is not an option,’ and time is not unlimited here. The American people expect us to do something.”
Senate Democrats plan to pass a bill in June with or without Republicans.
In May, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was asked by Axios on HBO if he agreed with Biden aide Steve Ricchetti’s comment that Democrats have “a little more time” to have “broader consultation and dialog” and “There’s more receptivity on the Republican side to having that dialogue, and they also see the potential to reach some common ground here.”
“In general I don’t agree with that,” Sanders responded. “The bottom line is the American people want results.”
He continued, “And frankly, when people got a, you know, $1,400 check or $5,600 check for their family, they didn’t say, ‘Oh, I can’t cash this check because it was done without any Republican votes.’”
Buttigieg told the New York Times Sway podcast last month going the traditional route of “regular order” and committee hearings is something Biden “prefers,” but “our bottom line is something has to get done.”
Republicans have countered Biden’s $2.3 trillion proposal with one valued at $928 billion.