Biden Won’t Sign Bipartisan Bill Unless His Terms Are Followed

( Bipartisanship seems to always have an asterisk under President Joe Biden.

On Thursday, he said he would only sign the newly-agreed-upon bipartisan infrastructure bill if Congress also passes a reconciliation bill that allows him to push through his much more progressive, and expensive, agenda.

In a sense, Biden signaled to the more moderate members of his own party — specifically West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin — that they better fall in line, or they’ll get nothing.

During a meeting at the White House Thursday, Biden said to reporters:

“I expect that in the coming months this summer, before the fiscal year is over, that we will have voted on this bill, the infrastructure bill, as well as voted on the budget resolution. But if only one comes to me, this is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem.”

Not only did Biden signal that he’s holding the Senate hostage, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would, too. The same day, Pelosi announced the House wouldn’t vote on the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure bill until the upper chamber passes the Democrats’ larger bill through budget reconciliation.

What’s worse, Biden said he agreed with Pelosi’s outline, saying:

“The bipartisan bill from the very beginning was understood, there’s going to have to be the second part of it. I’m not just signing the bipartisan bill and forgetting about the rest that I proposed. I proposed a significant piece of legislation in three parts, and all three parts are equally important.”

Once again, this is the president playing to the wants of progressives in his party. Many who fall into that category were displeased that the bipartisan bill didn’t go far enough on things such as paid family leave, free education and access to child care.

Biden and Pelosi better be careful, though, because they’ll still need to convince Manchin and other moderate Senate Democrats such as Krysten Sinema to agree to budget reconciliation. If they don’t, then their entire plan will be dead in the water.

This is the biggest signal yet that the Democratic Party in Washington is fully in control. While Biden himself was never really considered a progressive candidate, he has fallen off the deep end and is allowing that segment of the party to run things.

Pelosi is leading the way in the House and others such as Bernie Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is leading things in the upper chamber.

Now, because of Biden’s promise that the infrastructure bill must have two packages, some Senate Democrats want to know what’s going to be in it. Republicans are likely to fight back against the budget reconciliation maneuver again, but they can only hope that at least one Democrat votes against it.

Biden tried to close his remarks on Thursday by touting his bipartisan nature. But, it’s pretty obvious he could care less about that. He said:

“I know there are some of my party who discourage me from seeking an agreement with my Republican colleagues, who said that we should go bigger and go alone. To them I say this: I’ve already shown in my young presidency that I’m prepared to do whatever needs to get done to move the country forward …

“When we can find common ground, though, working across party lines, that is what I will seek to do. The reason why is because the broader support a proposal has in Congress, the stronger its prospects for passage.”