Democrats are going to war over infrastructure with liberal senators threatening not to support President Joe Biden’s compromise bill without a second $6 trillion measure that contains their wish list items, such as free child care and green projects.
The latest derailment comes after Biden had to walk back a comment he made on Friday that had moderate Republicans hopping mad and threatening to walk. After a statement on Saturday reassured them the president would not hold the bipartisan compromise hostage to a fast-track measure known as reconciliation, the GOP was appeased.
‘Let me be clear: There will not be a bipartisan infrastructure deal without a reconciliation bill that substantially improves the lives of working families and combats the existential threat of climate change. No reconciliation bill, no deal. We need transformative change NOW,’ Senator Bernie Sanders wrote on Twitter.
‘Understand this: We’re not leaving child care behind. We’re not leaving green energy behind. And we’re not going to make America’s middle-class families pick up the ticket for this package. It’s time for billionaires and big corporations to step up,’ Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted.
The back-and-forth over the last three days shows the delicate dance the White House is doing as Biden tries to hold together the competing factions while brandishing his reputation as a bipartisan deal maker.
President Joe Biden is trying to hold together competing factions of Democrats as a war breaks out within the party over infrastructure
The nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill – which focuses on traditional infrastructure projects – can be passed through regular Senate order with enough Republican support.
A second measure – which contains ‘human infrastructure’ items such as tax increases, green energy projects, health care provisions and investments in child care – would have to be passed through a process know as reconciliation. That allows Democrats to bypass the 60-vote thresh hold usually needed to advance legislation in the Senate.
Progressive lawmakers are threatening to with hold their support from the compromise plan without it being paired with the reconciliation bill.
But the reconciliation bill would need all 50 Democrats in order to proceed. That would include moderate Senators like Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema.
Manchin has indicated he will support a reconciliation bill but not at the funding level liberals want. The measure is approaching the $6 trillion mark.