McConnell: I'm Pessimistic on Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, 'We Need to Keep Talking' and 2017 Tax Bill Is 'Red Line'

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On Thursday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that he’s pessimistic that there will be a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure and that Democrats vowing to take a two-track process where they pass a broader package through budget reconciliation puts Republicans “in the position of if we cooperate with them in passing the infrastructure bill, all the Democrats have to line up and fracture the 2017 tax bill,” which McConnell said is “our one red line.”

McConnell said, “I was initially optimistic, but [it] can best be described as a tale of two press conferences. After the first one, the president walks out with a bipartisan group and blesses an infrastructure bill that many of my members are quite optimistic about. And then after all of those people depart the White House, the president goes out for the second press conference and says, unless you pass my tax bill, I won’t sign the infrastructure bill. So, what it does is put my members, including myself, who were optimistic about doing a bipartisan infrastructure bill, in the position of our Democratic friends having to guarantee that the 2017 tax bill is unwound. That’s our one red line. We’re not going to revisit the 2017 tax bill. … And so, I think we’ve gone from optimism to pessimism as a result of the president’s second press conference.”

McConnell added that Republicans who believe the 2017 tax bill was crucial to economic success are “in the position of if we cooperate with them in passing the infrastructure bill, all the Democrats have to line up and fracture the 2017 tax bill, raising taxes on individuals, on the states, on companies, and the rest, it puts us in a very, very challenging position. So I would say we need to keep talking here. Because I think the bill, to be bipartisan, is going to have to have Republican support.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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