Senate Republicans told Breitbart News Friday that President Joe Biden’s hardline negotiating tactics could “blow up” both the bipartisan infrastructure deal as well as the more partisan infrastructure reconciliation bill.
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Thursday they would support a bipartisan infrastructure proposal unless Congress passes a more partisan, more social spending legislation using budget reconciliation.
“There ain’t going to be an infrastructure bill unless we have the reconciliation bill,” Pelosi said.
In reaction to the news, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the Republicans participating in the bipartisan negotiations, said he would not back Biden’s proposal to tie together the more Democrat proposal with the bipartisan legislation.
“If he’s gonna tie them together, he can forget it! I’m not doing that. That’s extortion! I’m not going to do that. The Dems are being told you can’t get your bipartisan work product passed unless you sign on to what the left wants, and I’m not playing that game,” Graham said.
Graham said the Republicans involved with the negotiations with the White House were not aware of Biden’s demands to tie the two bills together.
“Most Republicans could not have known that. There’s no way. You look like a fucking idiot now,” Graham said. “I don’t mind bipartisanship, but I’m not going to do a suicide mission.”
One Senate GOP aide said Friday the legislation could upend the bipartisan deal on infrastructure.
“The president’s comments did real damage here,” a senior GOP aide told Politico. “It is astonishing that he could endorse this bipartisan framework in one breath and then announce he will hold it hostage in the next.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), one of the members of the bipartisan group, said he felt “blindsided” by Biden’s demands.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), another member of the group, reportedly was “pissed and disappointed.”
In a similar vein, a senior Senate Republican aide told Breitbart News that Biden’s aggressive negotiating tactics could blow up the bipartisan negotiations his administration spent months on instead of pursuing his won partisan bill using solely Democrats.
“The deal was made. The ball is in their court,” the senior GOP aide told Breitbart News. ” If they blow up this deal, it’s solely in their lap.”
Biden’s hardline tactics could serve as a move to convince Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), two moderate-leaning Democrats, to support the more Democrat infrastructure proposal. However, the move could aggravate many Senate Republicans who thought they were negotiating in good faith with the Biden administration and tank the bipartisan infrastructure proposal.
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), one of the Republicans involved in the bipartisan negotiations, told Breitbart News he would not support the bipartisan framework if Senate Democrats were to tie the partisan bill together. Moran’s office also said he continues to seek assurances from Manchin and Sinema to not support the partisan infrastructure package.
A spokesman for Moran said, “If Senate Democrats make the bipartisan framework part of a partisan reconciliation plan, Sen. Moran would not support it. Sen. Moran is seeking assurances from Sen. Manchin and Sen. Sinema that they will not support an additional reconciliation package.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.