Passage of Limited Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Very Close

by Michael London | 07/15/2021 9:49 AM
Passage of Limited Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Very Close

Republicans in the Senate have mostly remained quiet, even though the deal has received bipartisan backing.

 

On Tuesday night, Senate Democrats agreed on a $3.5 trillion budget plan that would expand Medicare, fund climate change initiatives, and fulfill other parts of President Joe Biden's economic agenda. The plan, which Democrats hope to pass on top of a bipartisan infrastructure bill, would also fund other parts of President Biden's economic agenda.

Following a long discussion with Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said they had reached a bipartisan budget committee agreed on a budget reconciliation package that would finance what President Joe Biden has referred to as "human infrastructure."

Following the meeting, according to White House readout, Mr. Biden "thanked the Senate Democratic Caucus for the groundbreaking work they had done to reach the budget resolution agreement announced last night," and he also "touted the benefits of the historic bipartisan infrastructure framework that forms the other half of his domestic economic agenda.

Republicans in the Senate mostly remain silent on the $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure deal, which has garnered widespread bipartisan support.

Although the deal was negotiated by a small group of Senate Republicans, including Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has yet to express support for it publicly.

The Democrats are putting pressure on Republicans to finish the specifics this week, but Republicans believe an infrastructure plan won't be completed until the next week.

The framework is mainly concerned with tangible things such as roads and bridges. It also includes money for high-speed internet access, which is a key goal for both parties.

At this point, there doesn't seem to be much excitement among Republicans to support the deal, which may be due in part to the fact that negotiators are still working on converting the plan into real legislation.

The Democrats are putting pressure on Republicans to complete the specifics this week, but Republicans believe an infrastructure package won't be finished until the next week.

Even though just 11 Republican senators signed on to the bipartisan accord, the proposal would still pass the 60-vote barrier even if every Democratic senator voted in favor of it as well.

However, several Senators have indicated that they may withdraw their support in light of the fact that Democrats are set to pass a separate $3.5 trillion party-line plan via reconciliation in the coming weeks.

To achieve this legislative outcome, Democrats must unite in an equally split Senate against a unified Republican opposition -  if they are to pass.

'This agreement is troubling to me,' said Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, a Republican sponsor who spoke out on Wednesday.

Others argue that the fate of the bipartisan agreement should not be linked to the success of the Democrat-only proposal.

Despite repeated assurances from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House will only adopt a bipartisan measure if the Senate passes a party-line infrastructure package.

The second Republican supporter, Sen. Lindsay Graham, told reporters on Wednesday that the two cases "cannot be linked at all."

Republicans have also begun to express dissatisfaction with the financing methods, making it more difficult for additional Republicans to accept a deal.

Since this bigger measure is unlikely to gain support from any Republicans, it will need support from all 50 Democrats, which means that it will need support from both ideological extremes of the Democratic Party.

The bipartisan agreement includes measures to repurpose coronavirus relief money and unspent federal jobless assistance. Still, some experts are dubious that the financing arrangements would be sufficient to cover the costs of the agreement.

A recently published blog article by Howard Gleckman, a tax specialist at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, referred to it as "pixie dust."

Given their aversion to increasing the national debt, the Republican Party is capitalizing on this.

In a Tuesday interview, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said that Republicans want to "simply make sure that the pay-for are reasonable, that they are genuine, and that they are not illusory."

Sen. John Thune, the second-ranking Republican senator in the Senate, told reporters on Tuesday that a proposal that is fully funded would be "a precondition for a significant number of Republicans to support" it.

Thune said the next day that the $3.5 trillion spending agreement might "place downward pressure on Republican votes" in the coming weeks.

"I don't believe it is beneficial.

"We have people that are really interested in passing an infrastructure bill," he added.

 

                     $3.5 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Is About ‘Putting People First’ Says Sen. Stabenow

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