During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union over the weekend, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg insisted that Democratic leaders will not have infrastructure negotiations “go on forever” amid Republican obstruction. In fact, Buttigieg even provided a rather definitive timeline, insisting that infrastructure negotiations need a “clear direction” by a little over a week from his CNN appearance. After that, the implication appears to be that it’s time to move on — with or without the GOP.
Buttigieg and the other high-profile figures involved in attempting to formulate an infrastructure spending package won’t be letting Republican obstruction indefinitely drag out and impede the process, he insisted.
As Buttigieg put it:
‘By the time that [Congress returns], which is June 7, just a week from tomorrow, we need a clear direction… The president keeps saying inaction is not an option, and time is not unlimited here. The American people expect us to do something. They expect us to deliver. And it’s my hope that these continued conversations really over these next few days will be productive and will lead to that clear direction.’
Republicans have provided their own infrastructure spending proposal, but it’s substantially lower than even an adjusted proposal from the Biden administration, and — as CNN host Jake Tapper noted — critics have insisted that the GOP proposal largely amounts to spending that would have already taken place. If Democrats end up unable to secure substantial Republican support for an infrastructure spending plan, then they do have the option of passing it via budget reconciliation, which is a procedural mechanism in the Senate that allows the passage of certain spending-oriented legislation with just 51 votes in the 100-member chamber. With Vice President Kamala Harris as a tiebreaker, that’s exactly how many votes that Democrats currently have.
Buttigieg added as follows:
‘The fact that [Republicans] philosophically seem to agree that trillion-dollar investments are the kind of thing we need to be doing right now — that’s encouraging. But we aren’t exactly aligned. In fact, there’s a lot of daylight here, especially because things we consider very important, from making sure that we’re sparking an electric vehicle revolution and that it happens in the U.S. with American workers on American soil, to the president’s commitment to make sure that we get rid of 100 percent of lead pipes in this country — we didn’t see as much of that in the counter-proposal.’
Check out his comments below:
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says there needs to be a “clear direction” on infrastructure by June 7. "The President keeps saying, 'inaction is not an option' and time is not unlimited here. The American people expect us to do something." #CNNOSOTU pic.twitter.com/SK2PIPr3L1
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) May 30, 2021