Obama and Biden Speak ‘Regularly,’ Says White House Press Secretary
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that former President Barack Obama speaks regularly with President Joe Biden, in response to a reporter’s question during a daily briefing.
A reporter asked Psaki if Biden had spoken to Obama about how to pass the much-discussed infrastructure bill and if Obama had given him any advice on getting it through Congress.
“They speak regularly,” she told reporters. “They of course were president and vice president but they are also friends and they share a bond of serving through eight years of the Obama-Biden administration but also a personal friendship and kinship.”
“But we’re not going to read out those calls,” Psaki added.
Some economists have criticized the package as failing to deliver on traditional funding, and that it amounts to a massive federal power grab. They also found fault with the administration’s broad definition of infrastructure.
Biden is currently willing to push through his $2 trillion infrastructure plan without the support of Republican lawmakers if he cannot reach a bipartisan deal, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Sunday.
Granholm said Biden would prefer that his plan have Republican backing but, if that does not work, he would likely support using a procedural strategy called reconciliation to allow Democrats to pass it in the Senate.
“As he has said, he was sent to the presidency to do a job for America. And if the vast majority of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, across the country support spending on our country and not allowing us to lose the race globally, then he’s going to do that,” Granholm said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recently expressed he is not likely to support Biden’s infrastructure plan due to the hefty tax hikes. According to the White House, the $2 trillion plan will be paid for, in part, by increasing the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from the current 21 percent.
“The administration’s non-infrastructure ‘infrastructure bill’ looks like another Trojan horse for far-left demands. Rolling back Right to Work laws. Imposing the biggest new tax hikes in a generation—killing jobs and slowing wage growth when workers need a fast recovery,” he said on Twitter.
“Our nation could use a serious, targeted infrastructure plan. There would be bipartisan support for a smart proposal. Unfortunately, the latest liberal wish-list the White House has decided to label ‘infrastructure’ is a major missed opportunity by this Administration,” McConnell said.
“My advice to the Administration: If you want to do an infrastructure bill, let’s do an infrastructure bill. Before the pandemic, we had the best economy in 50 years. We should not raise taxes under the guise of an infrastructure bill and send our economy in the wrong direction.”
When Biden first outlined his infrastructure plan last week, which is the first part of a two part plan, he pitched it as “a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago.”
Reuters contributed to this report
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