Bernie Sanders Urges Joe Biden to Abandon Infrastructure Negotiations, Proceed without GOP Support

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I., Vt.) speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., February 25, 2021. (Susan Walsh/Reuters)

Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) urged President Biden to push ahead with the administration’s infrastructure package without Republican support, in comments to Axios on HBO on Sunday.

Host Jonathan Swan asked Sanders to react to Biden adviser Steve Ricchetti’s comments on the package to the Washington Post.

“We have a little more time for the consideration of this, and the percolation of these proposals, to have broader consultation and dialogue,” Ricchetti said last week. “There’s more receptivity on the Republican side to having that dialogue, and they also see the potential to reach some common ground here.”

Sanders, however, took issue with those remarks.

“In general I don’t agree with that,” Sanders told Axios. “The bottom line is the American people want results.”

Sanders added, “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.’”

Sanders’s comments come as the White House is considering splitting the infrastructure package into two parts, people familiar with the discussions told Axios. One bill would be tailored to pass the Senate with at least some Republican support, while another would contain proposals to be backed only by Democrats, such as tax hikes on wealthy people and corporations.

The Senate parliamentarian has granted Democrats’ request to pass two additional bills via budget reconciliation rules, which allow for passage of certain pieces of legislation via a simple majority in the Senate in place of the 60-vote filibuster-proof threshold.

While Republicans have put forward a $568 billion infrastructure proposal, Democrats have proposed a $2.2 trillion plan that includes spending for traditional infrastructure as well as for green energy projects and affordable housing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said earlier this month that “zero” Republicans would back Democrats’ proposal as written.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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