Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg declined Sunday to rule out adding a path to citizenship for illegal immigrant “Dreamers” to President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure package — a new ask from liberal Democrats in Congress.
“That’s not in the plan that the president’s put forward,” Mr. Buttigieg
said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I will say that we’re hearing a lot of ideas from across the aisle and from within our caucus on what to do about the pay-fors, different shapes that the infrastructure package and the transportation infrastructure can take.”
“I think you’ll find the president is ready to listen to these ideas that are going to come up, for example, in tomorrow’s meeting,” he said.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus wants to provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and essential workers as part of the package.
Mr. Biden is scheduled to meet Monday with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House to talk about his plan.
Republicans have objected to the package’s overall price tag and the relatively small portion of it that’s earmarked for traditional infrastructure projects like building and repairing roads and bridges.
Adding immigration-related provisions would only complicate Mr. Biden’s already narrow path to winning Republican support for parts of the package.
The president and his team have tried to argue that the definition of “infrastructure” needs to be expanded to encompass rural broadband, elderly care and other key features of the plan.
“We can agree to disagree on what to call it — I’m still going to ask you to vote for it,” Mr. Buttigieg said.