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Hostage Taker Mitch McConnell Accuses Schumer And Pelosi Of Holding Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill ‘Hostage’

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Mitch McConnell

In a stunning twist of irony, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday demanded that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) don’t hold a bipartisan infrastructure bill “hostage.”

“Unless Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi walk-back their threats that they will refuse to send the president a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless they also separately pass trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism, then, President Biden’s walk-back of his veto threat would be a hollow gesture,” the self-declared “Grim Reaper” of the Senate said in a statement.

“The President cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process,” he added.

McConnell’s statement is the first he’s made since President Biden walked back his pledge that he wouldn’t sign the bipartisan deal if it was the only thing that came to his desk, saying over the weekend that the veto threat wasn’t his “intent.”

But McConnell argued that without a similar de-linking of the two parts of the Democratic infrastructure plan by congressional leadership that Biden’s remarks would be a “hollow gesture,” in the latest sign that the bipartisan deal isn’t yet back on firm footing.

“Unless Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi walk-back their threats that they will refuse to send the president a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless they also separately pass trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism, then, President Biden’s walk-back of his veto threat would be a hollow gesture,” McConnell said in a statement.

“The President cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process,” he added.

McConnell’s rhetoric was immediately picked up by other Republicans, who are hoping to squeeze Democrats on their infrastructure strategy.

“Joe Biden reversed his threat to veto a bipartisan infrastructure bill if it isn’t accompanied by a $6 trillion socialist boondoggle. Will Speaker Pelosi do the same?” the National Republican Campaign Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm, asked in an email blast to reporters on Monday.

Democrats are pursuing a two-track infrastructure plan: On one track is the bipartisan deal that would cost approximately $1.2 trillion over eight years with more than $570 billion in new spending.

On the second track is a sweeping multitrillion-dollar bill that Democrats plan to use under reconciliation, which allows them to bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster. To unlock that option, Democrats will need all 50 members of their Senate caucus united so they can move without Republicans.

Schumer has said the Senate will vote on the bipartisan bill and a budget resolution that greenlights and includes the instructions for a second, larger Democratic-only bill in July.

Some Senate Democrats immediately panned McConnell’s remarks.

“McConnell having a hard time coming to terms with the fact he’s not the Majority Leader anymore,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted.

“It’s a real shame we couldn’t pass everything in the bipartisan deal with 50 votes under reconciliation. So frustrating we have no process to allow us to pass this without Republicans if their demands become too unreasonable. No…wait a minute,” he added in a subsequent tweet.

Kaine also acknowledged that McConnell, after describing himself in listening mode, could come out against an infrastructure bill.

“It’s not unlike him to sometimes pull the football out when the kicker is just about to kick it. I’ve seen him do that before,” Kaine said.