Tags: Biden Administration | joni ernst | ben cardin | infrastructure | democrats

Sen. Ernst: Cardin's Hot Mic Infrastructure Comment 'Disappointing'

joni ernst speaks into mic
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 5, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 March 2021 01:16 PM

It was "very disappointing" to hear Sen. Ben Cardin telling Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that Democrats will likely need to use the reconciliation process to push an infrastructure bill through Congress, Sen. Joni Ernst said Tuesday. 

"(He) has normally been a very reasonable person and someone we felt we could work with in past congresses," the Iowa Republican said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "We passed a bipartisan transportation highway infrastructure bill, but it sounds like Democrats don't have any intention of working with Republicans this year. They are just going to ram it through, and don't have to have Republican participation."

The Biden administration, she added, has said it wants to work in a bipartisan manner, but it hasn't shown that "one bit."

Monday, Cardin, D-Md., was caught telling Buttigieg that the infrastructure bill would be "put together similar" to the recently passed COVID-19 package. This means several committees would draw up legislation separately that would later be linked. 

Cardin added that Democrats would "most likely have to use reconciliation," because Republicans will only "meet with you to a point."

The conversation was overheard on C-SPAN after Cardin's trip through a UPS facility that is helping in the deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines. Fellow Maryland Democrat Sen. Chris Van Hollen was also part of the conversation, with the three appearing to not realize their chat was being broadcast. 

Buttigieg commented that he is "pretty process-agnostic," because "we just want it to work, and get through." He added he was "all ears" when it comes to the legislation.

Ernst on Tuesday also fired back at claims from the Biden administration that its current actions are being taken on the border because the Trump administration disbanded laws on immigration

"We were working on that diligently and working with the administration," she said. "We provided many miles of border wall protection being dismantled by the Biden administration ... he put in place the opportunity for those illegal migrants to be held in Mexico, not to advance over the border. We were able to work with the president on a number of issues. We couldn't get immigration reform."

Former President Donald Trump had to set executive orders on immigration, she added, because Republicans did not have the support in the Senate to pass the measures with 60 votes. 

"We want to make changes in the immigration system and strengthen our borders," said Ernst. "We don't have any Democratic support on that. They can't do it without 60 votes which is why they are trying to strip those protections away and why Biden is running all over Republicans with these executive orders."

She also took aim at Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who like others in the administration is refusing to call the border issues a crisis. 

"Jen Psaki, this is not a 'big problem,'" said Ernst. "This is a humanitarian crisis as well as a national security crisis. We have transnational criminal organizations running people over the border. We had 54 countries sending illegal immigrants over the southern border. This is something that has got to stop and we've got to pay attention to."

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Politics
It was "very disappointing" to hear Sen. Ben Cardin telling Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that Democrats will likely need to use the reconciliation process to push an infrastructure bill through Congress, Sen. Joni Ernst said...
joni ernst, ben cardin, infrastructure, democrats
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2021-16-16
Tuesday, 16 March 2021 01:16 PM
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