The Kentucky Republican call was the clearest sign yet that the Senate GOP may try to deny Democrats the 60 votes they need to pass a bipartisan plan unless they abruptly change tactics.
At an event in Kentucky on Monday, McConnell said when asked about the bipartite deal: “I think it’s fair to say that I would love to see us get there and I think the only way to do this is to separate the two problems. These are really separate issues. “
The minority leader’s comments come after President Joe Biden on Saturday tried to reverse his earlier remarks when he said he would not sign a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless he is associated to a reconciliation proposal, which Democrats could pass without Republican votes. Biden’s initial remark met with a wave of criticism from Republicans, and it now remains to be seen whether the bipartisan deal can be restored.
McConnell said in a statement Monday that Biden had “appropriately dissociated” the two issues, but went on to say that he “called on President Biden to engage Chief Schumer and President Pelosi and ensure that they follow his example ”. McConnell added that if that didn’t happen, then “President Biden’s return of his veto threat would be a hollow move.”
“There won’t be a bipartisan bill unless we have a reconciliation bill,” she said. “As I said, there won’t be an infrastructure bill unless we have a reconciliation bill. Clear and simple. In fact, I am using the word is not. There will be no infrastructure bill unless we have the reconciliation bill passed by the United States Senate, ”she reiterated.
A group of 11 Republicans have signed the bipartisan infrastructure framework, but it remains to be seen whether they will continue to stick to it. Already one of that group, GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, has warned that he will vote against the bill if Democrats delay it to achieve reconciliation.
Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said Monday that Biden should not condition the bipartisan infrastructure deal with the broader reconciliation bill. But he added that if Republicans killed the bipartisan deal in the Senate, Democrats would simply incorporate it into the larger reconciliation bill.
“We would say, ‘OK, you killed the bipartite agreement. But OK, you’ve given us some great ideas. It’s good. And you’re going to see your priorities included here in the reconciliation. … The bill will be better because we have asked for your contribution, ”he said.
Kaine said of McConnell: “It’s no different than him sometimes shooting the ball the kicker is about to hit it. I saw him do that. … He’s pretty impenetrable. “
Democrats weigh the price of the reconciliation bill
Kaine also said Democrats were engaged in talks this week to settle the overall price of the reconciliation bill – and that they would try to reach an agreement between them by the time they return to session in July.
The goal, he said, is to get a deal that could win all 50 Democrats out of a global number – but there are a variety of views on the matter.
“I think the key here is to be all on the same page on this side,” Kaine told CNN.
Kaine said he came up with a price close to $ 4 trillion – which is higher than the $ 2 trillion proposed by Senator Joe Manchin and lower than the $ 6 trillion figure that Senator Bernie Sanders has offered. proposed – and matches Biden’s count for his jobs. and family plans.
Kaine said he spoke to Manchin over the weekend – and the West Virginia Democrat told him, “We need to get the bipartisan deal done so we can get the reconciliation deal. “
Kaine added, “Now we’ll have differences of opinion on what should be in the reconciliation bill – that goes without saying. Whether we’re going to do one, I think it should be a uniform Democratic stance. “
Schumer and Sanders have asked their members for their opinion on the overall amount they would be prepared to support.
“There’s a lot of talk about the price tag this week,” Kaine said.
This story was updated with additional developments on Monday.
CNN’s Ted Barrett, Morgan Rimmer and Donald Judd contributed to this report.