Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that he still wants to earn GOP support for President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan and that he hopes that Congress can pass the massive infrastructure bill sometime between July 4th and Labor Day.
Host Jake Tapper asked Buttigieg how he will accomplish the politically near-impossible.
“I know that you have not given up on Republican support. You’re still trying. Obviously winning over 10 Republicans in the Senate to break a filibuster, still, to me, from my cheap seats here, it still seems like a steep hill for you to climb. I asked your colleague Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm last week, ‘if you cannot get those 10 Republican Senate votes, are you willing to use the Senate rules, called reconciliation, which would allow it to pass with 50 votes plus Vice President [Kamala] Harris?’ Secretary Granholm seemed to suggest the answer is yes. Do you agree?” asked Tapper.
Buttigieg said that he would prefer to do things by the book, if possible.
“Well again the president has said we have to get this done, so inaction is not an option, but there is a strong preference for the president, the administration and certainly for me, to do these things in regular order,” he replied. “It’s better from a policy perspective and it’s how this administration prefers to work. So I’m gonna keep burning up those phone lines, talking to Republicans, listening to Republicans, and trying to get somewhere we can all agree on.”
Buttigieg added that “it is a remarkable fact” that the American Jobs Plan “as a whole and in its pieces already has bipartisan support, already has most Republicans saying we oughta do it – just not here in Washington.”
Tapper cautioned that just because GOP voters support a piece of legislation, that does not mean their elected leaders do. Tapper then pressed Buttigieg on whether the bill can pass by July 4th, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has hinted.
“The president wants to see major action in Congress and real progress by Memorial Day. The Speaker has laid out that July timeline for getting something passed,” said Buttigieg.
“We got some real kinda shot clocks on this in terms of things that have to get reauthorized by the end of September, so, you know, the sooner the better, I think is the bottom line,” the secretary continued. “We’ve gotta get this done. We’re gonna take onboard a lot of ideas. We’re gonna negotiate, but we can’t just sit here and let the clock run out because the American people can’t wait. This work can’t wait. We should have been doing this years ago, and each passing day, America falls further behind while strategic competitors like China are not hesitating to make the investments that it takes to win the future.”
Watch below via CNN:
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says "inaction is not an option, but there is a strong preference for the President" to do things in regular order when it comes to the infrastructure bill and reconciliation. He says he'll continue to reach out to Republicans. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/3G5qxSjac3
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 11, 2021
What's Your Reaction?
Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.