- Sen. Warner said that passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill might have boosted Terry McAuliffe.
- McAuliffe, in seeking a return to the Executive Mansion, was defeated by Republican Glenn Youngkin.
- While appearing on CNN, Warner said that Democrats must pivot to passing the Build Back Better Act.
Sen. Mark Warner on Sunday said that the results of the Virginia gubernatorial election "might have been different" if the House had approved the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill before Election Day.
The Virginia Democrat, himself a former governor of the Commonwealth from 2002 to 2006, was a strong backer of former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who was defeated by Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin last Tuesday.
During an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union," Warner remarked that McAuliffe could have received political momentum from the bipartisan bill, which is set to provide critical investments for Virginia, if only the legislation had been signed into law earlier.
"The House could have passed it in August. We could have spent the last three months going around Virginia talking about clean water systems, improving our transportation system, making sure our airports didn't appear to be third-world, making sure every home in Virginia had high-speed broadband connectivity. We've got a lot of coastal areas. Finally, the federal government is stepping in on resiliency," Warner told host Dana Bash.
"So, yeah, I think, if we could have been talking about that win and showing the kind of job creation that actually has been taking place, things might have been different," he added.
The three-term lawmaker then said that the bill's passage could have "absolutely" made the difference in the election.
"The voters of Virginia and the voters of America gave us the presidency, the Senate, and the House. "They expected us to produce. They have been hearing about this bipartisan infrastructure bill for months," he said.
"I'm very proud of the bill. I was one of the so-called Gang of 10 that put it together. Is it perfect? No. But it is the first time in 50 years that we've made this kind of investment," he added.
Warner remarked that he wished that the House "would have moved earlier" on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and focused on the contents of the bill instead of overall price tags, which eventually bogged down talks among Democrats.
The senator then said that lawmakers needed to pivot toward President Joe Biden's $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill, known as the Build Back Better Act, a social-spending blueprint that includes funding for universal pre-K for six years, childcare subsidies, and an expansion of Medicare to cover hearing aids, among other items.
"We need to pass the second half of the president's agenda as well. I wish we would have spent less time talking about top-line numbers and more time talking about what's in it," he remarked.