Republican Sen. Tim Scott said he feels double-crossed by the White House after President Joe Biden backtracked on his promise to pass a bipartisan infrastructure deal and then threatened to veto the legislation unless Congress also passed a reconciliation bill littered with leftist agenda items.
“Do you feel double-crossed by President Biden threatening to veto the infrastructure compromise unless he got a reconciliation bill at the same time?” Hugh Hewitt of “The Hugh Hewitt Show” asked Scott on Monday.
“Well, there’s no doubt about it,” the senator from South Carolina said, explaining that the GOP was completely blindsided by Democrats’ attempts to pass a separate reconciliation bill. “Anytime you think you have a deal, even though I may have voted against that deal, that has something added to that, is just irresponsible, disrespectful, and definitely craters the deal, from my perspective.”
Biden later walked back his threat and said it “was certainly not my intent” to veto the legislation after Republicans promised to jeopardize Biden’s plan by pulling out of the “bipartisan” part of the deal in response. Scott, however, said the president’s flip-flopping is all he needed to oppose the plan.
“My understanding is that you can’t trust what the president says on infrastructure. That’s my little answer. And when that is the case, nothing else quite matters,” Scott said. “This is how we see these socialist ideas start being socialized in their public forum. It is wrong. It is not consistent with any deal that was ever on the table, as far as I know, and we had this conversation just last Thursday amongst the Republican senators. This was a nonstarter for everyone that was in the room.”
Aside from the White House’s inability to orchestrate an honest deal, Scott also said the current infrastructure plan contains plenty of policies worth objecting over and a price tag he’s not willing to sign onto.
“[M]y position’s pretty clear that you cannot have some caveat that spends $3 trillion, eliminates the right to work laws in my state and 26 other states, and call that the precursor or the prerequisite for getting actual infrastructure taken care of. It’s wrong, it’s bad, and it’s out of step with reality,” the senator continued.
While Scott says there is “a bipartisan coalition interested in reducing the infrastructure package,” he’s not sure that key Democrats can “stand the heat in the kitchen” and stop the 2017 tax bill from being reinvented with reconciliation.
“If they can, then they stand against their party. If they don’t, they succumb to the pressure. I don’t want reconciliation to be used on a $2 trillion mammoth package that has less to do with traditional infrastructure and more to do with a utopian society that can’t exist, because you can’t perfect man, and you can’t expect people in Washington to spend your money better than you would,” Scott explained.
To create a truly bipartisan deal, Scott said Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will have to step up and “focus on those priorities that the American people have around infrastructure.”
“Any deal that requires us to do bad policy or make bad policy decisions to get to the good ones is bad overall,” Scott concluded.