Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Sunday that time is “running short” for a bipartisan deal on infrastructure, indicating that President Joe Biden will look to act without Republican support if there is no consensus when Congress returns from the Memorial Day Weekend.
President Biden plans to meet with lead Republican negotiator, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, this coming week and says he remains open to hearing from other Republican Senators who are working on different proposals. But the President has been watching the timeline for the deal, with an early June hearing scheduled on a House transportation bill that is widely seen as a building block for the big package he favors.
“By the time that they return, which is June 7th, just a week from tomorrow, we need a clear direction,” Buttigieg said. “The president keeps saying inaction is not an option. And time is not unlimited here.” He said the American people “expect us to do something.”
Secretary of Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg says that Democrats won't be strung along forever on infrastructure negotiations and says we are close to a fish or cut bait moment where Republicans will either get on board or Democrats will pass it alone. pic.twitter.com/HBZin73wtQ
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) May 30, 2021
Democratic senators also plan on moving forward on a sweeping infrastructure package “with or without the support of Republican senators,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote to Democrats on Friday. Biden had originally set a Memorial Day deadline for reaching a deal before he let that deadline slip back.
Secretary Buttigieg to Fox on paying for Biden's plans: "All you've got to do to pay for this is for corporations and wealthy Americans to pay their fair share. Not a crazy high tax level, not even as high as the tax levels have been for most of my life."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 30, 2021
The two sides remain far apart. Republican senators last week outlined a $928 billion infrastructure proposal as a counteroffer to President Biden’s $1.7 trillion proposal, and they said they would not go along with his plans to raise the corporate tax from 21% to 28% to pay for new spending.
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) May 28, 2021
Buttigieg said while Republicans “philosophically seem to agree that trillion-dollar investments are the kind of thing we need to be doing right now,” there is “a lot of daylight” between the two sides, such as investments to boost the electric vehicle market to shift Americans away from gas-powered cars to stem greenhouse gas emissions.
Secretary Buttigieg spoke to ABC News Sunday about the infrastructure deal. Watch the segment, below.