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Commerce Secy. in no rush to strike bipartisan infrastructure deal

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accompanied by Robert Duncan, the secretary for the minority, walks to the chamber as the Senate resumes work following a ten-day recess, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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UPDATED 3:56 PM PT – Monday, June 7, 2021

Disagreements between Joe Biden and Senate Republicans have continued to stall a bipartisan deal on infrastructure reform. In an interview on Sunday, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo stated the administration is not in any rush to reach a bipartisan solution and added there is no “hardwired deadline” for bipartisan talks on infrastructure to make a deal.

Raimondo went on to suggest the broad desire among lawmakers in both parties to have a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure. She said Joe Biden’s red line on infrastructure is in action, but noted both sides of the aisle are acting in good faith to come together.

“We wont do this forever, but right now there are good faith efforts on both sides,” she mentioned . “We’re going to continue the work of doing our job and trying to get a bipartisan agreement.”

Raimondo suggested there are a few areas in which lawmakers can strike common ground, but all sides believe passing a bill is urgent.

“We have delayed investments in basic research and development, infrastructure improvements, job training, you know, provision of child care for so long,” she explained. “…Everyone says it is time to make these investments. It is past time to make these investments.”

Biden is scheduled to meet with GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to discuss infrastructure at the White House on Monday. However, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg indicates tensions are still high between the White House and Senate Republicans.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the GOP’s lead negotiator on a counteroffer to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, listens at left as she is joined at a news conference by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

During an interview on Sunday, Buttigieg suggested there is still a lot of distance between the GOP and Democrats on infrastructure despite ongoing conversations between the two parties. He said the GOP’s current offer, which was raised by $50 billion last week, doesn’t meet Biden’s agenda on infrastructure.

“On Friday, there was another counter offer from the Republicans represented,” he mentioned.” I think about $50 billion in movement, but really did not meet the President’s objectives in terms of what we need to do for a generational investment.”

Buttigieg said that although a bipartisan effort is preferred, one is not required.

“As our Democratic friends remind us there is another way, but our strong preference is to do this on a bipartisan basis especially because it’s a bipartisan priority,” he mentioned. “It was the famous mayor who once said that there’s no such thing as a Democratic or Republican hole in the road.”

This comes after the Senate’s Parliamentarian ruled Democrats will only get one more chance in 2021 to bypass the filibuster through reconciliation, which is putting pressure on Biden to cut a deal on the infrastructure package or push through legislation without GOP approval before the start of the midterms campaign season.

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