Former President Donald Trump has called on Senate Republicans to ditch talks with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure deal until the GOP can retake majorities in Congress.
As Senate negotiators attempt to finalize a deal on the infrastructure bill, which is believed to be around $1 trillion, Trump said that GOP lawmakers “are being absolutely savaged by Democrats on the so-called ‘bipartisan’ infrastructure bill,” according to his July 26 statement.
The former commander-in-chief said that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and negotiators including Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), were only interested in proving they could come to a bipartisan agreement.
“It is so important to [McConnell] that he is agreeing to almost anything,” he stated. “Don’t do the infrastructure deal, wait until after we get proper election results in 2022 or otherwise, and regain a strong negotiating stance. Republicans, don’t let the Radical Left play you for weak fools and losers!”
Several weeks ago, President Joe Biden appeared alongside several Republican and Democrat negotiators at the White House, announcing that they could come to an agreement. Negotiators and the Biden administration told Reuters that they were still optimistic on July 25, but it was unclear how soon they could finalize the fine print of a complex measure in a tense political atmosphere.
Biden has said the plan is essential, but he also wants it to be followed by a much larger $3.5 trillion budget framework that would allow for more spending on some of his other priorities, including climate measures and social spending. Republicans have said they won’t support the larger measure, leading Democrat senators to say they would pass the measure via budget reconciliation, which doesn’t require Republican support.
Portman, the lead Republican negotiator on the bipartisan infrastructure plan, said on July 25 on ABC’s “This Week” that spending on mass transit was the only issue outstanding, and an agreement could be reached this week.
“We’re about 90 percent of the way there,” he said.
But Portman warned that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could torpedo the entire infrastructure effort after she insisted that the Senate must also pass the larger $3.5 trillion spending package in order for the infrastructure bill to be considered in the House.
Over the weekend, Pelosi reiterated that statement, telling ABC News that Democrats “are rooting for the infrastructure bill to pass, but we all know that more needs to be done.”
“What she has just said is counter to what President Biden has committed to,” Portman told the network. “It’s the way we ought to be doing things here in Washington to get stuff done, and I can’t believe the speaker of the House would be blocking it.”
McConnell’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.