Biparty infrastructure deal catches fire left and right
A bipartisan infrastructure deal unveiled last week by a group of five Republicans and five Democrats is under fire on both sides of the aisle and may not survive the week.
Democrats are preparing to kill the proposal because it falls well short of President BidenJoe Biden Biden Prepares to Face Putin Ukrainian President thanks G-7 countries for statement of support Biden aims to strengthen troubled relations with Turkey at first Erdoğan meeting MOREThe US $ 2.25 trillion employment plan, and because its menu of ways to pay it includes indexing the gasoline tax to inflation, imposing a kilometer tax on electric vehicles and reallocation of unspent COVID-19 relief funds.
While the senator Susan collinsSusan Margaret Collins Pelosi: “No intention” to abandon Democrats’ infrastructure goals Collins says infrastructure bill will not increase gasoline tax or overturn tax reform bill 2017 What Democrats Should Do To Achieve True Bipartism PLUS (R-Maine) said on Sunday that the deal would not include a gas tax increase, people familiar with the proposal said indexing the gasoline tax to inflation , which would increase income, was under discussion. They argue that this would not represent a tax increase.
This view, however, is not universally shared in both parties.
“I think indexing the gasoline tax is a tax increase,” said a Republican senator. “I have never been in favor of increasing the gas tax. My colleagues say it is not a tax increase.
Another major problem for Democrats is that the bipartisan plan does not go far enough to tackle climate change.
Many Republicans are not enthusiastic about the size of the proposal and the prospect of giving Biden a major legislative achievement on a major national priority.
“Do I think we should spend that much?” No, ”added the legislator. “I don’t think the votes are there.”
“You don’t want to tear down infrastructure, but it won’t fly,” the senator said.
A Republican Senate adviser confirmed: “A majority of our conference is probably skeptical. “
Democrats have complained about the size of the proposal and the payment strategies.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Called it “very, very paltry and disappointing”.
Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee Bernie sandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Democratic tensions will only worsen as left loses patience McConnell seeks to divide and conquer Democrats Photo of action figure socially distanced from G7 leaders goes viral MORE (I-Vt.) Said he wouldn’t vote for it.
“At the end of the day, this country has needs. Now is the time to meet those needs and it needs to be paid for in a phased manner given that we have huge incomes and wealth inequalities in America,” Sanders said.
At the same time, Democratic and Republican advisers say neither side wants to be blamed for killing the bipartisan proposal.
senatorial minority whip John ThuneJohn Randolph Thune “The era of bipartisanship is over”: Senate goes through rough patch Biparty talks sow division among Democrats Senate passes long-delayed China bill MORE (RS.D.) on Monday called the bipartisan proposal “good work”.
“We’ll have a better idea tomorrow when we present at the conference… where people might be. But I think there are a substantial number of Republicans who would be in favor. The question is, how much can Democrats deliver if it’s less than they want? said Thune.
But Republican Leader No.2 also acknowledged that some Republicans would balk at the estimated cost of $ 1.2 trillion over eight years or $ 973 billion over five years. It is estimated that $ 579 billion would be new money compared to the current baseline budget.
“We have members here who don’t want to vote for anything,” he said.
Senate majority whip Dick durbinDick Durbin The story of the last bipartisan unicorns Former DOJ official Rosenstein says he was unaware of a subpoena targeting Democrats: Trump DOJ report demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says MORE (D-Ill.) Expressed willingness to consider the bipartisan infrastructure framework, but acknowledged that he would have preferred other means of paying for it than what the group of 10 senators proposed.
“I haven’t studied it very closely, but I’m not opposed to the concept. I think I would have paid it differently, but I’m open to ideas, ”he said.
As a result, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are in a kind of contest to see who will blink first and overturn the bipartisan proposal, which in turn would set the stage for Democratic leaders trying to push through the infrastructure program of Biden on a party line vote. in the context of budget reconciliation.
Strategists from both parties say it’s hard to imagine a major infrastructure bill getting 60 votes in the Senate during a time of extreme partisanship in Washington.
“I don’t think it’s a lot of luck to pass because, first of all, there are only five Republicans who accepted it and we would need five more and it would be very, very difficult to find. those five, ”said Mike Lux. , a Democratic strategist, referring to the fact that Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to pass a Senate infrastructure bill 50-50 as part of a regular order.
Second, Lux said the bipartisan proposals to pay for the package are so vague they are “worse than sketchy.”
“Democrats don’t care about taxes on working class people. For a Republican party that claims to be the party of the working class, all it wants is to tax the workers. They don’t want to tax the rich at all. This is not acceptable to most Democrats, ”he said. “They are not offering anything serious.”
Biden’s agenda has stalled on various other fronts.
Gun control talks between the Senses. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott Murphy Democrats ponder overhaul of radical election bill Rise in crime rejuvenates campaign gun control debate Antsy Democrats warn of running out of time for infrastructure (D-Conn.) And John cornynJohn CornynRising crime rejuvenates campaign gun control debate Biparty lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua Biparty Senate group announces infrastructure deal MORE (R-Texas) collapsed last week; Senate Republicans last month blocked a bill to create a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on Congress; immigration reform talks have not yet started; and a police reform bill with a deadline of late June is almost exhausted.
“Democrats can’t buy into the Republican proposal, a lot of them won’t just because they don’t get it all. They can agree with the content of the proposal. They might want to vote for, but they will vote against and their cover is their own proposal that spends a lot more and raises taxes for the rich, ”said Brian Darling, GOP strategist and former Senate adviser, who predicted the sinkhole. . Between Biden’s $ 2.25 trillion U.S. Jobs Plan and $ 1.8 Trillion U.S. Family Plan and the current bipartisan framework will prove too difficult for many Democrats to accept.
Majority leader in the Senate Charles SchumerChuck Schumer It’s not just Manchin: No electoral mandate blocks Democrats ‘left-wing agenda DOJ to investigate Trump-era subpoenas from lawmakers’ files Democrats ask Barr, Sessions testify on subpoenas Apple PLUS to appear (DN.Y.) has not said if he can support the proposal, which would cost $ 1.2 trillion over eight years, as White House officials are concerned about how Republicans want to pay for it. that.
Schumer stressed on Monday that infrastructure legislation must include strong climate provisions.
“As I said from the start, to move infrastructure forward, we need to include a bold climate for action,” he told the Senate.
The Democratic leader said that whether or not a bipartisan infrastructure bill passes, Democratic leaders also plan to push through legislation as part of budget reconciliation to pass major elements of Biden’s agenda that will not pass. ‘have no chance of garnering 60 votes in the Senate.
“At the moment both tracks are progressing and progressing very well,” Schumer said on Monday.
Leader of the minority in the Senate Mitch mcconnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell What Democrats Should Do To Achieve True Bipartism Democrats Consider Overhaul Of Election Bill McConnell Seeks To Divide And Conquer Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) Says he’s open to the proposal as long as it stays focused on traditional infrastructure priorities such as roads and bridges and doesn’t override any of the 2017 tax cut laws. and employment, formerly President TrumpDonald Trump Biden Prepares To Face Putin Biden Aims To Boost Shady Ties With Turkey In First Erdoğan Meeting Senate inquiry into insurgency fails MOREsigning initiative of.
McConnell gave the bipartisan cadre a 50-50 chance on Monday to lead the Senate to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
“Maybe 50-50,” he told Tory radio host Hugh Hewitt, when asked about the odds. “Look, both sides would like to get an infrastructure bill.”