Video Source: YouTube, MSNBC
For President Joe Biden and the Senator working on a nearly $ 1 trillion infrastructure package, there is only one question left. That is whether a sufficient number of Republicans can agree.
Seventeen Republican senators joined all Democrats in a vote this week to begin the debate and begin a few-day process to consider the bill. The 67-32 votes were a surprisingly powerful bipartisan show, rare in recent narrowly divided parliaments.
But whether the number of Republican senators who are willing to pass an important part of Biden’s agenda will increase or decrease in the coming days will determine whether the president’s signature issue can cross the finish line. To do.
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, a key Republican negotiator, predicts that support will only grow prior to the final vote.
“That’s a pretty good start,” Portman said after Wednesday’s results. “Once members start to realize the impact of these projects on their state and their representatives, they can build on it.”
For Republican senators considering their options, there are many reasons to stick to no.
The bipartisan Biden project is large, with $ 550 billion in new spending beyond typical highway and public works accounts. It is funded by sources that may not be able to pass the rally due to deficit hawks, such as the diversion of undeveloped COVID-19 relief supplies and dependence on projected future economic growth.
Moreover, GOP opponents of Biden’s plan, passing this first part of the White House’s infrastructure agenda, is far more about the Democratic Party’s resolute childcare, healthcare, and other widespread proposals made by the Republican Party. He argues that it will almost certainly help pave the way through a large $ 3.5 trillion package. They call the plan “reckless spending,” but they need the 60-vote threshold needed to push the bipartisan package beyond filibuster with evenly divided 50-. You can hardly stop it under special budget rules that do not. 50 Senate.
Republican Senator James Lankford, who voted against the start of this week’s discussions, opposes bipartisan packages, even if he acknowledges the potential popularity of new roads, bridges, broadband internet and other infrastructure spending. There seems to be a tendency to do.
“It’s always a challenge,” Rankford said Thursday. “People always say,” I want more. ” But when you say, “How do we pay for it?”, They often say, “Yes, we need to make sure it is paid as well.” prize.
But some Republicans say it’s time to say so.
After voting against Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief aid bill earlier this year and preparing to vote against the next large infrastructure package, some Republicans celebrated the president’s first year. I’m worried about ending it almost empty-handed.
“You feel against everything,” said Senator Kevin Kramer, one of the 17 people who voted to start working on the bill. “And I think it’s what it looks like.”
Infrastructure is a topic that is usually generating bipartisan support, with senators from mayors and other local government officials investing in federal investments in high-value public works projects that cities, counties, and states usually cannot afford on their own. I’m asking about the need.
A 57-page summary distributed to Republican senators about bipartisan plans included voting results, including a recent survey from the Associated Press-NORC has 8 out of 10 Americans. It shows that it supports that infrastructure spending.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is open about his plan to “100% focus” on stopping Biden’s agenda, but other Republican senators have something to make voters look home. I also know that it doesn’t matter.
Republican political calculations took place at this week’s private luncheon, with one side arguing that the votes in favor would only help Biden and the Democrats move their big spending plans forward.
Their debate over the bill reflected a statement by former President Donald Trump, who called the Republican ridiculous nickname for working with the Democratic Party. Trump encouraged Republicans to wait and try to pass their bill if they regained a majority of the Senate in the midterm elections next fall.
Kramer stood up at the luncheon and told his colleagues that if they continued, neither Democrats nor Republicans would support the other side and nothing could be achieved.
“There may be winners and winners,” he said. “Not all transactions at this location require a loser to have a winner.”
A Republican strategist who discussed private thinking on condition of anonymity said more senators were expected to agree.
Strategists said Republican senators were considering the idea that votes in favor could be seen as a political victory, indicating that they worked to support bipartisan infrastructure programs. They were then able to shift their attention to Democrats facing their own internal divisions as they attempted to bring Biden’s proposal to the final passage.
McConnell showed that Republican political strategy was working, participated in the vote and started the debate, but quickly blasted Democrats’ huge spending plans.
“Our country will benefit a lot from some targeted investments,” McConnell said Thursday. “This kind of focused compromise that our colleagues have revealed is in contrast to the trillions of dollars of reckless taxation and spending that the Democrats want to enter into a partisan vote later this year. was.”
Biden is an integral part of the debate, bringing senators closer to one-on-one meetings at the White House, giving them space to negotiate with each other and outline bipartisan bills.
The process seemed out of reach because the process was long, tedious, and full of start and stop. It’s been more than a month since Biden and the Senator first reached an agreement and voted in the Senate this week. And there are still days.
“I think it’s an important statement that Republicans get together with us, but since these are investments in the American people, it’s clear that we’re making these investments in our economy,” D-Mass said. Said Congressman Catherine Clark. .. , Assistant speaker. “And we want Republicans to join us, but that will be our result, whether or not they decide to be on the American side.”