Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on Democrats Sunday to push forward with President Joe Biden’s partisan infrastructure package without gathering Republican support, calling it a “misstep” to wait on Republicans any longer.
“I think the American people elected us to solve the problem of COVID, to rebuild the economy, rebuilding the infrastructure, and I think it’s the moment to act. I think we need a bold solution that does both the hard infrastructure — of roads, bridges, high-speed rail, rural internet — but also the softer infrastructure, the human infrastructure of paid family leave, affordable day-care, making sure our kids are back to school so that all parents can get back to work,” said the New York junior senator.
Gillibrand, a former Democratic presidential candidate, refused to answer CNN host Jake Tapper’s question Sunday when he asked whether she believed Republicans have been negotiating an infrastructure deal in bad faith. She responded: “To me, it means we are about to miss the moment that we have to answer the need of this country.”
“People need government to work for them, and so we have to answer that moment with bold reforms. And I think waiting any longer for Republicans to do the right thing is a misstep. I would go forward,” she added.
“I don’t think there’s necessarily good will behind all negotiations,” says Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand when asked about negotiating with the GOP on infrastructure. “I think waiting any longer for Republicans to do the right thing is a misstep. I would go forward” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/LjBQNMWp9c
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) May 30, 2021
Gillibrand is one of many Democrats who have expressed frustration with Republicans’ refusal to go along with a massive infrastructure spending plan — particularly as Democrats continue to play loosely with the definition of infrastructure.
The White House has proposed a $1.7 trillion infrastructure bill; a group of Republican senators have countered with a $928 billion plan. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki thanked the senators for the counter-offer last week, but also took issue with other areas, such as the lack of new spending for building rail systems, repairing transit systems, and for so-called green infrastructure.
Another major sticking point, suggested Psaki, was that most of the money for the Republican proposal was coming from non-new spending. In fact, the plan would create about a quarter of a billion dollars in new spending, far lower than Democrats want.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that the White House wants a “clear direction” as to where the infrastructure talks will lead by June 7, suggesting that the Biden administration may want to move on without Republican support, reports the Associated Press.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), a lead negotiator on the Republican side, said Sunday that she believes a deal can be reached.
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