But as far as Republicans believe Koons is acting in good faith, his idea does not address the political issue that divides how we pay for the package. And that leaves them reason to be cautious, as Democrats are likely to turn around and pay for the rest of the infrastructure offer by raising corporate taxes. Still, the GOP has reason to agree – most notably, the fact that a massive bipartisan bill will demonstrate that the Senate can still pass laws within the limits that significantly empower the minority party.
On the other side of the Capitol, Home Transport Committee Chairman Peter Defacio (D-Ore.) Endorsed a similar strategy as Coons, noting that the GOP counterpoint is “not a small amount of money”
“There are countless things you can’t do as you manage the infrastructure bill through the budget process to avoid filibuster,” DeFazio said.
Democrats are clearly at a crossroads on the critical decision whether to work with their GP counterparts or not. And the clock is ticking. During private talks with members of both countries in recent days, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein signaled that there was still time to wait for the Republican buy-in, but that the party should not accept forever, according to several people. familiar with discussions.
Members of the so-called G20, a group of moderate senators from both parties, were divided on whether to work together on a smaller package during a conversation Thursday afternoon. Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) has expressed a desire to cooperate with Republicans, but acknowledged that at some point Democrats may go their own way, according to a source familiar with the call. The group ended without a decision and plans to speak again next week.
As committees begin drafting the language of the bill, Democrats say they are looking for policies that have bipartisan support. But they also signal that they are ready to do it on their own if Republicans pick them up or pull things out.
“It is most reasonable to work in two lanes. “One is the reconciliation ribbon, which I don’t think it would be wise to give up, and the other is the bipartisan ribbon,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.).
But Whitehouse warned colleagues in the Democratic Party: “If they know we’re committed to the bipartisan tape, there’s a strong incentive for them to fake it and use it just to slow down.”
Meanwhile, Republicans – who privately suspect Democrats will use reconciliation again – are watching a potential counter-conference.
“If we don’t move forward with a plan, if we don’t have some concepts, some ideas at the table, then they’ll say ‘You don’t care, you don’t care, you’re not in it,'” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. the good Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee. She offered to spend $ 800 billion and pay for it with user fees, but acknowledged that there was still no agreement on a real offer.
The Coons plan is similar to what some Republicans are proposing to Biden to do to alleviate the coronavirus: choose areas that are bipartisan, and do the rest under the protection of the budget reconciliation process, which avoids the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. to pass most bills. But infrastructure is a bigger challenge for this route than Covid’s help.
And Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) Said Thursday that Republicans are ready to negotiate only with the “implicit understanding that this will not lead to a second bill.”
Some Democrats have privately argued that they should not allow Republicans to throw their weight behind the popular infrastructure bill without demanding their participation in the more controversial debate over how to pay for it.
The complexity of the whole situation is that Congress does not have an explicit deadline for the infrastructure bill. Parliament Speaker Nancy Pelosi is looking forward to going through the house in July, but the real deadline for the full package could be late September, when the current ground transport policy expires.
Some of its representatives are already proposing that Democrats delay if Republicans signal a serious interest in working on the bill.
“The infrastructure is different. It’s not time-sensitive, we don’t need to set an artificial deadline, and that gives us at least a chance to work together, “said Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), Who belongs to the bipartisan problem. GOP support.
Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), a member of the G20 moderate group, said he was in the early stages of developing a bipartisan infrastructure proposal, but acknowledged that “this is a more difficult environment to achieve a common bipartisan basis, due to the payment element. “
“We can probably get to a meeting of minds about what needs to be done. And the question is: Who has to pay for it? ” he said. “Republicans will not want to raise taxes, and Democrats will not want consumers to incur additional costs. This will be the challenge. ”
Meanwhile, the White House and Senate Democrats are seeking to avoid a repeat of the Obama administration’s efforts to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010, which eventually crossed party lines, despite increased efforts to attract CSOs – concerns for at least one democratic a senator picked up during lunch at the case on Tuesday.
Times have changed, but some Democrats are still proud of their bipartisan brands. This group is larger than Manchin and Senator Kirsten Cinema (D-Ariz.), The most famous centrist of the majority in the Senate. Senator Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) Said he was thinking of the man who used to be in his place while advocating for a two-party deal.
“I hope we reach an agreement where we can do this through what … John McCain would call a regular order,” he said.