After President Biden stirred controversy by claiming he would not sign a bipartisan infrastructure bill without having a massive partisan spending package alongside it, senior presidential adviser Cedric Richmond on Sunday said Biden will indeed sign the narrower, Republican-backed bill – with broader legislation to follow.
Biden said Thursday that the two bills had to be “in tandem.” On Saturday, he walked that back, saying he gave his word that he would sign the bipartisan bill and intended to do so.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Richmond tried to allay Republican fears that Biden might not sign the bipartisan legislation, as well as concerns from the left about the need for a larger bill.
“I think he did exactly what the American people want him to do, and that is Republicans and Democrats come together where you agree, fight about what you don’t agree on afterwards,” Richmond said. “So we are going to fight about the American Families Plan. Republicans are going to try to kill it, we’re going to try to pass it. We’re going to pass it, and we’ll sign both bills.”
When pressed on whether this meant Biden will sign the infrastructure bill without any preconditions related to the larger spending bill, Richmond insisted that it was a non-issue, vowing that both will be signed.
“We don’t have to talk about conditions; we can talk about how important the families plan and the jobs plan are, and we plan to pass them, just like we did the rescue plan. People keep underestimating us; we keep delivering.”
Earlier in the interview, Richmond spoke about the administration’s approach to crime, making it clear that a major focus is gun control.
“Crime was down in the ’90s when we banned assault weapons, and so it’s time to ban assault weapons again,” he said.
Richmond would not speak to the impact of policies having to do with reductions in prosecutions and restrictions on cash bail, allowing defendants to be released and, in some cases, having cases dismissed altogether. Richmond said those decisions by local authorities should be addressed by their communities.
He said those policies have nothing to do with rising numbers of homicides.
“That’s guns causing that increase,” he said.