House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday signaled hopefulness that Republicans would get on board with major infrastructure and jobs legislation but was unsure whether her GOP colleagues would accept or obstruct President Joe Biden’s agenda.
Following an almost party-line passage of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package last week, Democrats are staring down the odds of winning Republican support on a host of administration priorities, including infrastructure and immigration. The fact that the American Rescue Plan passed without Republican support underscores the tricky legislative hurdles Democrats will have to navigate with slim majorities in both chambers.
“Building roads and bridges and water supply systems and the rest has always been bipartisan, always been bipartisan — except when [Republicans] opposed it with the Democratic president as they did with President Obama, and we had to shrink the package,” Pelosi told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” when asked whether she’d be able to keep Democrats united behind a package and garner Republican support.
“But, nonetheless, hopefully we will have bipartisanship.”
The speaker said she’d instructed chairs for committees of jurisdiction to begin outreach to their Republican counterparts on upcoming legislation.
Pelosi said whatever package lawmakers end up crafting must be fiscally sound and that Democrats were examining tax credits, the tax code, the appropriations process and bonding authority among other ways to pay for new spending, which Republicans are likely to criticize.
“This is job creating, which creates revenue that comes back to the Treasury, unlike what the Republicans did with their tax scam in 2017, which gave 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent, and debted to the tune of nearly $1.9 trillion … added to the national debt,” Pelosi said. “They should be the last people talking about what is too expensive for the American people as we meet their needs.”
In a separate interview on “This Week” on Sunday, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the No. 3 Senate Republican, said he would “really like to see bipartisanship on infrastructure,” but added that in the last Congress, House Democrats modified a major Senate highway package in a way that the Republican majority in the Senate couldn’t accept.
“They ignored what we have done in a bipartisan way,” Barrasso said. “If they would take the model we came up with in the committee and the Senate for highway and transportation, I think that’s a very good start. I talked with the secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg about it, and I think that is the model in which we should move forward on transportation and infrastructure.”