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Biden backtracks on tying bipartisan infrastructure deal to American Families Plan as president claims 'I'm not signing it' comment was never meant as a 'veto threat'

 Joe Biden was forced to walk back on Saturday after Republican fury erupted over his comments making the bipartisan infrastructure bill's passage reliant on Congress also passing his $2.5 trillion American Families Plan.

The president released a statement claiming he meant to show his continued support for the so-called 'human infrastructure' bill, and never intended to issue a 'veto threat'.

'[T]o be clear: our bipartisan agreement does not preclude Republicans from attempting to defeat my Families Plan; likewise, they should have no objections to my devoted efforts to pass that Families Plan and other proposals in tandem,' Biden said in his statement. 'We will let the American people—and the Congress—decide.'

Biden, joined by a group of five Republican and five Democratic senators, announced from the White House driveway on Thursday that they had finally reached a deal on an infrastructure bill that could pass Congress with bipartisan support.

During a press conference on the deal later on Thursday, however, the president said: 'If this is the only thing that comes to me, I'm not signing it.'

He is now backtracking on that comment, claiming he only was trying to show his continued commitment to getting the American Families Plan passed in tandem with the $1.2 trillion American Jobs Plan.

'At a press conference after announcing the bipartisan agreement, I indicated that I would refuse to sign the infrastructure bill if it was sent to me without my Families Plan and other priorities, including clean energy,' Biden wrote in his statement released Saturday. 'That statement understandably upset some Republicans, who do not see the two plans as linked; they are hoping to defeat my Families Plan—and do not want their support for the infrastructure plan to be seen as aiding passage of the Families Plan.'

'My comments also created the impression that I was issuing a veto threat on the very plan I had just agreed to, which was certainly not my intent,' he added.

President Joe Biden said  in a Saturday statement that he never intended to issue a 'veto threat' as he assured Republicans he is not linking the bipartisan infrastructure deal's to passage of his American Families Plan

President Joe Biden said  in a Saturday statement that he never intended to issue a 'veto threat' as he assured Republicans he is not linking the bipartisan infrastructure deal's to passage of his American Families Plan

Centrist Republican Senator Rob Portman, who worked to reach the infrastructure deal, said Sunday that he is glad Biden 'de-linked' the two bills. 'I was very glad to see the president clarify his remarks because it was inconsistent with everything that we had been told all along the way,' he said. 'We were all blindsided by the comments'

Centrist Republican Senator Rob Portman, who worked to reach the infrastructure deal, said Sunday that he is glad Biden 'de-linked' the two bills. 'I was very glad to see the president clarify his remarks because it was inconsistent with everything that we had been told all along the way,' he said. 'We were all blindsided by the comments'

Senator Rob Portman, a Republican who worked to reach the deal and appeared alongside Biden on Thursday, said he was glad to see the clarification after being 'blindsided' by the president's comments.

'I was very glad to see the president clarify his remarks because it was inconsistent with everything that we had been told all along the way,' the Ohio senator told ABC's This Week on Sunday.

'We were all blindsided by the comments the previous day, which were that somehow these two bills were connected – the reconciliation bill, which is a trillion dollars of social spending that's going to be entirely partisan, the largest tax increase in American history, on the one hand. And the other hand the infrastructure bill, which is bipartisan, has no taxes, focuses on core infrastructure and has been bipartisan from the start.'

'So it was a surprise, to say the least, that those two get linked,' he added. 'And I'm glad they've now been de-linked and it's very clear that we can move forward with a bipartisan bill that's broadly popular, not just among members of Congress, but the American people.'

Biden lamented in his Saturday statement that rather than praising the deal, politicians immediately became focused on how his comments tied the passage of that bill to reconciliation.

'In the days since [the deal was reached], the primary focus in Washington has not been about the Plan's scope, scale or provisions—but rather, how it relates to other legislation before Congress: my American Families Plan,' he wrote. 'The American Families Plan… has broad support with the American people, but not among Republicans in Congress.'

A group of 10 bipartisan lawmakers lined up behind Biden on Thursday to announce they reached a deal on an infrastructure bill. But shortly after, Republicans were infuriated when Biden said: 'If this is the only thing that comes to me, I'm not signing it'

A group of 10 bipartisan lawmakers lined up behind Biden on Thursday to announce they reached a deal on an infrastructure bill. But shortly after, Republicans were infuriated when Biden said: 'If this is the only thing that comes to me, I'm not signing it'

Biden won't sign infrastructure bill without American Families Plan
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The White House doubled-down on Friday that Biden will not sign the infrastructure bill unless a $3-6 trillion reconciliation bill passes first for the left's 'family infrastructure' and climate initiatives.

But now Biden is walking back.

Senator Mitt Romney, who was part of the group of 10 lawmakers who reached the deal with Biden, told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday morning that there was 'never' a larger reconciliation deal discussed during negotiations with the White House.

'The president's other effort was never linked to the infrastructure effort,' the Utah Republican told CNN host Jake Tapper, adding: 'I do trust the president.' 

After the president's press conference on Thursday about the deal, Republicans were outraged, claiming there were never any 'side deals' or agreements to now support the American Families Plan in tandem to the infrastructure bill.

Senator Lindsey Graham said Biden made Republicans like look 'f***ing idiots'.

'Most Republicans could not have known that. There's no way,' Graham told Politico. 'I don't mind bipartisanship, but I'm not going to do a suicide mission.'

The South Carolina senator was one of the 11 Republicans who supported the bipartisan infrastructure deal – but he is now backing out.

It is not clear how Graham, or the rest of the group, feel now that Biden has backtracked.

'There was general displeasure and anger,' said a senior GOP aide who listened in on a virtual meeting Friday between the lawmakers. They noted Graham was relatively quiet on the call.

Another aide to one of the 11 senators told Politico: 'Demanding that we didn't pass the bipartisan deal unless reconciliation was passed first was never part of the deal.'

On the call Republican Senators Romney, Rob Portman and Susan Collins were particularly enraged over Biden's flip.

Lindsey Graham said Biden made the GOP look like 'f***ing idiots' by reaching a bipartisan deal on infrastructure and then publicly tying it to reconciliation with his American Families Plan

Lindsey Graham said Biden made the GOP look like 'f***ing idiots' by reaching a bipartisan deal on infrastructure and then publicly tying it to reconciliation with his American Families Plan

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