Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing December 12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Edelman—Pool/Getty Images)

Progressive Leader to Biden: Don't 'Water Down Bill for a Party Not Actually Interested in Bipartisanship'

The country can't afford to "wait for Republicans to have some awakening on climate change," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Jake Johnson

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal late Thursday argued that President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers should forge ahead with an ambitious infrastructure package without attempting to cater to the minority GOP, a party the Washington Democrat said has no interest in good-faith negotiations or combating the climate crisis.

"Let's not water down a bill for a party that's not actually interested in bipartisanship or wait for Republicans to have some awakening on climate change," said Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "Let's move with the urgency and boldness that this moment calls for."

Jayapal's message came hours after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) predicted that Biden's roughly $2.3 trillion infrastructure and climate package "is not going to get support from our side," pointing specifically to the plan's proposed rollback of the GOP's 2017 corporate tax cuts.

Republican lawmakers made clear they would object to Biden's proposal before he even released it, but the president still appears to be holding out some hope for a bipartisan package as he faces pressure from progressives to invest much more in revamping the nation's decaying infrastructure and transitioning the U.S. energy system away from fossil fuels.

"I'm going to bring Republicans into the Oval Office; listen to them, what they have to say; and be open to other ideas," Biden said in a speech Wednesday. "We'll have a good-faith negotiation with any Republican who wants to help get this done. But we have to get it done."

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas.), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, quickly rejected Biden's Oval Office invite as "disingenuous."

As the Washington Post reported, Biden "phoned McConnell on Tuesday to brief him on the details before the White House unveiled the infrastructure plan." A day later, McConnell dismissed the proposal as a "Trojan horse for far-left demands."

With the GOP leaving little doubt about its plans to stand in the way of a package whose broad outlines are extremely popular with the American public—including 50% of self-identified Republicans—progressives are urging the Biden administration and congressional Democrats to go it alone, either by using budget reconciliation or eliminating the Senate filibuster.

"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our infrastructure, climate, communities, and people," Jayapal said Thursday. "Now is the time to go big."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

'Like a Blowtorch': Historic Dixie Fire 'Catastrophically' Destroys Greenville, California

"Our historical buildings, families homes, small businesses, and our children's schools are completely lost," said Plumas County Supervisor Kevin Goss.

Jessica Corbett ·


Markey, Levin, and Bowman Unveil Bill to 'Get Toxic Substances Out of Schools'

"We live in the richest country in the world. Every single kid should have a safe and healthy learning environment that facilitates their growth and unlocks their brilliance."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Stand With Us': Indigenous Line 3 Opponents Seek Allies to Fight Tar Sands Pipeline

"We need everyone who can to come to the frontlines in support. We need those who can't come here in person to amplify this message through every available channel."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Unimaginably Catastrophic': Researchers Fear Gulf Stream System Could Collapse

"Scientists say we cannot allow this to happen. People in power stand in our way."

Jessica Corbett ·


Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott Calls Another Special Session to Attack Voting Rights

Republicans "waging war on our right to vote failed to pass anti-democratic legislation in the regular session and the last special session," said one advocate. "Texans are ready to make sure they fail again."

Kenny Stancil ·