Biden World on bipartisan infrastructure talks: Little harm in still trying

Several Democratic sources say that by continuing negotiations, the president hopes to maintain the “bipartisan Joe” image. One of Bidens Top advisors have told the Democrats that an attempt at a bipartisan deal could strengthen Biden politically.

Although efforts to reach a bipartisan infrastructure deal have come up against a wall over the size of the package and the rules on payment, the White House is seeing some positive signs from the new group, including a willingness to settle for a dollar amount higher than that of the previous GOP-only group led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.V), a White House official said.

Biden is abroad for the next eight days. But senior officials and cabinet members who have been tapped to focus on the infrastructure package will be connecting with members of the bipartisan group. Biden himself has spoken to Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) And intends to have similar conversations with others, according to a White House official. This group of 20 senators, led by 10 negotiators who are evenly divided along the party lines, includes Manchin and Sinema – who have not previously been directly involved in negotiations between the White House and Congress – and Sens. Rob Portman ( R-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) And Mark Warner (D-Va.).

While the progressives long for Biden to give up bipartisan talks entirely, most Democratic lawmakers are okay with them moving on. A reading from the White House of a phone call last week found that the Chairman of the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Who handles elements of the President’s establishment plan that includes infrastructure spending, supported continued bipartisan talks . The White House was also encouraged by the passage of the Senate Competitiveness Law on Tuesday evening, which is seen as a sign that the parties can reach a bipartisan compromise.

Even progressive Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said he was unimpressed by the government’s decision to continue talks with the Republicans because it would ultimately not prevent the Democrats from moving forward with their priorities.

“Negotiations rarely make things worse, and so I applaud you for your unwavering optimism, but I am serene in the knowledge that constitutionally the legislature takes over the legislation,” Schatz said in an interview. “I think Joe Biden would prefer to do all of this bipartisan.”

Schatz said he was confident that anti-climate change provisions would make it into the final infrastructure laws passed by Congress, arguing the issue was “the key to the Biden agenda” and “the key to why we have triple power.” achieved”.

“I do not think that in 50 years the question will arise whether this congress created the climate before the August break?” Said Schatz. “The question will be, did this congress create the climate? If we have to make this bill in September, I have nothing against it. “

As the White House embarks on a second trail of bipartisan negotiations, they are also working on a parallel path to ensure the passage of Biden’s entire infrastructure package. The Senate Democrats have started work on the next budget reconciliation process, which will involve most of Biden’s proposals and would only pass through the Senate with the support of the Democrats. And DeFazio’s committee in the House of Representatives on Wednesday introduced a $ 547 billion surcharge on re-authorizing land transport, which is likely to be a vehicle for some of Biden’s infrastructure plans.

One White House official described the overall strategy in simple terms: work to see if there is a deal but also work like there isn’t one.

But the Democrats are not entirely convinced of the approach. When Biden flew to Europe on Wednesday, a number of legislators threatened with it Hold back voices from the final bill, following comments from Biden’s national climate advisor Gina McCarthy, that certain climate change provisions – like a clean energy standard – may not be included in the final compromise.

Even progressive lawmakers and activists fear that the longer the talks drag on, the more likely it is that other important non-infrastructure priorities will never be approved.

Whenever the White House finishes “the kabuki” with GOP senators, it will be weeks before the Democrats negotiate among themselves, said Brian Fallon, an Obama administration alum and chief executive of Demand Justice, an advocacy group that supports progressive justice candidates.

“The loss here is the rest of Biden’s agenda,” Fallon said. “You seal our fate regarding our inability to ever force a reckoning on the filibuster by taking so long with these other bills.”

“He got his COVID recovery package and either way he will get an infrastructure package,” added Fallon. “So Biden will have two [big] Things, but will he be third? ”

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