- The Washington Times
Sunday, May 23, 2021

Cedric Richmond, a top adviser to President Biden, said Sunday that Mr. Biden is prepared to shift tactics on getting a massive infrastructure package through Congress once inaction appears “inevitable.”

Mr. Richmond said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the president wants a deal “soon” but that he’s willing to let ongoing bipartisan talks play out.

“But again, he will not let inaction be the answer and when it gets to the point where it looks like that is inevitable, you’ll see him change course,” said Mr. Richmond, director of the Office of Public Engagement at the White House. “But for now, we’re engaged in what we want to be a bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

Biden administration negotiators presented a $1.7 trillion infrastructure counter-offer on Friday that trimmed some of Mr. Biden’s money for broadband, roads and bridges but preserved the bulk of his original $2.3 trillion package.

The office of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Senate Republicans’ chief negotiator in the talks, said the White House’s new plan can’t pass Congress with bipartisan support but that the two sides would continue to talk.

Senate Republicans have offered their own $568 billion infrastructure proposal.

Anxious Democrats on Capitol Hill say the Friday back-and-forth shows it’s fruitless to hold out for GOP support that might never come.

They say the party should again leverage a fast-track budget tool that allows them to muscle through a package without Republican support, as they did for Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in January.

The White House has said it wants to see movement on a package by Memorial Day, which is a week from Monday. The House isn’t due back for votes until the week of June 14.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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