Progressives Threaten to Kill Infrastructure Bill After Biden Renews Negotiations With GOP

A growing number of progressive lawmakers may oppose the bipartisan infrastructure deal President Joe Biden is negotiating with Republicans, Politico reports.

Biden this month broke off talks with West Virginia Republican Shelley Moore Capito but has restarted bipartisan negotiations with a group of senators from both parties, who are pushing a $1 trillion package that eschews climate spending and corporate tax hikes.

But while Biden hopes to win over enough Republicans to pass a bipartisan bill and defeat a filibuster, he is losing support on the left.

Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders already said he would oppose the deal and Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey said Tuesday they would oppose any deal that does not include climate spending.

“The bipartisan negotiations have so far yielded a framework that’s completely inadequate. I can’t support any infrastructure package that does not include child care, clean energy and requiring the rich and powerful to a pay a fair share to get this done," Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Politico. “It has to be one deal not two deals."

Dems want more spending:

Biden’s proposal called for $1.7 trillion in infrastructure spending, including hundreds of billions to tackle climate change, while the bipartisan deal currently includes just $579 billion in new spending only for physical infrastructure.

The group would fund the bill by raising the gas tax and implementing a mileage tax on electric vehicles.

But there’s no guarantee that any Republicans aside from the five negotiators would back such a deal.

“McConnell has repeatedly said he wants Biden to fail. And you know the Republican conference doesn’t do anything that McConnell doesn’t bless,” Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown told Politico. “There’s no genuineness about paying for it … we’re not going to do a gas tax, and they’re not going to ask people that got tax cuts four years ago to ante up anything.”

House progressives balk too:

Pramila Jayapal, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said that her group would oppose the bill unless Democrats commit to a larger separate bill.

Markey and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal have also said they would only support a smaller bill if the party agrees to pass a larger bill with a simple majority in August.

The more likely scenario is that talks break off and Democrats move ahead with a single bill through budget reconciliation, which would allow them to pass the proposal with 51 votes, though Democrats would have to convince centrists Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to vote for it after they pushed for a bipartisan solution.


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