May 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ron Klain: Biden's infrastructure proposal isn't "big government"

Mike Allen

In an interview for "Axios on HBO," I challenged White House chief of staff Ron Klain on the contradiction between trying to go big on both big government and bipartisanship.

Driving the news: "I don't think it's big government to fix the ten bridges in this country that are most economically significant and are in serious" disrepair, Klain replied.

  • "Most of these Republicans have stood in front of a Rotary Club or a Kiwanis Club and given a speech about how we need to fix our bridges, roads, our highways, our infrastructure. People stand up and give speeches all the time about how people should have affordable childcare. It's basic, basic things that we're putting forward. And, again, I think they should have bipartisan support."

In an interview with Jonathan Swan on last night's "Axios on HBO," Sen. Bernie Sanders indicated that's he's impatient with President Biden's quest for Republican support for his infrastructure package.

  • Asked to respond, Klain told me: "What President Biden has said is he wants to try to find common ground with Republicans on these economic measures that have been bipartisan in the past. ... These things shouldn't divide our political parties."

Klain brushed off a question about whether Biden's ready to run against Donald Trump again in 2024.

  • "My experience ... is that incumbent presidents are judged on their record. President Trump had a bad record in 2020. Joe Biden is hopefully assembling a powerful record to run on if he runs for reelection in 2024."
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