Dems ’skepticism about infrastructure negotiations is growing

By Manu Raju, Lauren Fox and Ali Zaslay | .

Liberal Senate Democrats are downplaying a bipartisan group of senators working on an infrastructure deal, warning that any concerted action to gain GOP support will almost certainly not keep their party promises and lead to a revolt on the left. .

Criticism is mounting, with moderates urging their colleagues to be patient and noting that tensions are rising as Democratic leaders struggle to get through the 50-50 Senate and find a deal that will please the various factions in their party. .

“Let’s face it. It’s time to move on, ”Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren told . during talks with the bipartisan group. “Republicans have held us long enough.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal said: “I don’t believe this bipartisan group can reach an agreement. They need to have a limited amount of time to do that. I think now is the time to pull the plug and take quick and decisive action … I’m wasting my time. I’m worried he’s leaving. “

“We just don’t have time to waste,” said a Democrat in Connecticut.

Massive criticism also comes at a time when White House and Senate Democratic leaders are giving negotiators of both parties time to see if the deal can be scrapped, a 10-member group of two senators said Thursday they reached an agreement “on a comprehensive basis.” and it is “fully paid and does not take into account tax increases.”

But the details still need to be written down, and the challenge is to get enough support to become law.

Democrat leaders say they are following Biden’s vast infrastructure and social security network along both party and party lines. As bipartisan negotiations continue, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is preparing to begin the budget process next month, paving the way for the bill to move forward with the right number of parties, leaving only 50 Democrats in a process called reconciliation. can only succeed if it is supported.

“We’re on two paths: a two-party track and a reconciliation path, and both are moving forward,” Schumer told . on Thursday.

However, a number of Democrats have argued that any bilateral agreement move forward could not be widely supported by their group.

“I think it was clear to those negotiators that we were rooting for them, but there’s no guarantee that you can get 50 Democratic votes for the package they produced,” Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy warned.

In particular, Democrats are raising concerns about how the package will be paid – because Republican senators have said there will be no tax increase, and Democrats have demanded new taxes on corporations and high-income earners to pay the plan. The two-party group is instead considering redirecting already taxed Covid-19 aid money, raising the gas tax to an inflation rate – ideas that a number of Democrats strongly oppose.

Asked if Republicans would refuse to raise taxes to help pay for the plan, Hawaiian Sen. Mozi Hirono said, “I don’t agree with that at all.”

The divisions emphasize the Democratic Party’s not only political parties but also regional differences. Many legislators in the bipartisan group are from states outside the northeastern corridor, where residents mostly rely on rail and public transit.

“When I see a group of senators who don’t include members of the Northeast Corridor, I’m worried they’re going to make sure we drastically change transit times,” Murphy said.

Democrat Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said it was “clear” that bilateral talks would not lead to “what we should do for the people of Pennsylvania” and called for Biden’s $ 1.8 trillion U.S. family plan and $ 2.3 to come into force. trillion U.S. jobs plan.

But the Democrats have a problem: they don’t agree to pass such a huge bill across the ranks of right-wing parties like the Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kirsten Cinema of Arizona. instead, it seeks to continue bilateral negotiations.

“Right now, we don’t have a vote to do that,” said Janna Shahin, a Democrat in New Hampshire who also attended bilateral talks, when asked if she would return the Democrats ’approach only through the reconciliation process. .

“I mean, let’s give it a little more time,” said Angus King, an independent senator from Maine who met with Democrats. “The legislative process was designed to be slow and cumbersome.”

As Biden traveled across Europe during important periods of his presidency, the White House said phone calls would be changed when the president was abroad. Much of the information from the White House is expected by backing aides, including White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein and Director of Legislation Louisa Terrell.

On the Republican side, members of the bipartisan group told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday that he would testify to reporters with GOP members that McConnell is “open” to continue negotiations.

“Mitch McConnell said yesterday that he was open to this. That next step is good,” said Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who is part of a group trying to break the two-party deal.

Leaders of other Republicans, meanwhile, are skeptical that any deal reached will be necessary to defeat the 10 Republicans in the Philippine attempt.

Senate GOP whip John Thun of South Dakota and Senator John Cornyn of Texas said the proposed spending should be close to what Republican negotiators Biden proposed – about $ 300 billion in new money and $ 1 trillion in total spending – to raise broad money. . Support at the Republican Conference. However, this figure was rejected by the White House.

“I think he wants a better deal,” Cornin said of Biden’s ongoing negotiations with a new group of Republicans. “But nothing has been said about what this group wants to support other Republicans. The downside of such an approach is for me.”


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