President Joe Biden drew swift criticism from the right last week after threatening to veto a limited bipartisan infrastructure bill for which he initially voiced support.
The president later walked back that threat, which was clearly enough to convince U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) that Biden is a man of his word on the issue.
Romney was part of the bipartisan group of moderates on Capitol Hill responsible for hammering out a compromise agreement on traditional infrastructure spending that focused on funding projects like road and bridge repairs.
After initially lauding the progress by senators in both parties, Biden appeared to threaten a veto if it was not accompanied by another bill representing his administration’s demand for spending related to a host of social programs.
The compromise was confirmed on Thursday morning and Biden seemed to give his word that he would sign it into law if a bill arrived on his desk.
During a press conference just hours later, however, he expressed opposition to any compromise package that excluded a partisan reconciliation bill to address other domestic spending proposals.
Upon being asked if he would sign the bipartisan bill without the reconciliation measure, Biden replied: “If they don’t come, I’m not signing. Real simple.”
“Not signing it”
Moments later, he reiterated that the two bills should advance “in tandem,” asserting that he is “not signing it” if the bipartisan plan “is the only thing that comes” out of Congress.
By Saturday, after many Republicans had voiced their concerns and frustrations regarding the apparent about-face, the president seemed to flip his stance once more.
In a White House statement, the president expressed his understanding of GOP disappointment, clarifying that he never intended to threaten a veto and appearing to vow that he would sign it if passed by lawmakers — regardless of whether his other priorities were addressed in an accompanying measure.
For his part, the reversal of a reversal seemed to satisfy Rymoney, who told CNN host Jake Tapper that he does “trust” and “take the president and his word.”
Of course, after Biden appeared to shift his stance on the matter by the hour last week, there are no new guarantees that he will not flip again in pursuit of a progressive legislative agenda.