McConnell is now purposely lying about what Biden said in that follow-up statement and trying to drive a wedge between Biden and Democratic leadership. "The President has appropriately delinked a potential bipartisan infrastructure deal from the, massive, unrelated, tax-and-spend plans that Democrats want to pursue on a partisan basis." Biden said he wanted the two bills in tandem. Linked. "Unless Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi walk-back their threats that they will refuse to send the president a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless they also separately pass trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism, then President Biden's walk-back of his veto threat would be a hollow gesture," McConnell continued.
Sen. Chris Murphy nailed it in this tweet.
A few of the supposedly 10 Republicans who have been in the negotiations were fine with Biden’s statement clarifying his earlier remarks and are—theoretically anyway—still on board.
But that gives McConnell at least another five Republicans who are all looking for a reason to say no. When Biden refused to abandon the reconciliation process, that will be their reason. It's been hugely predictable all along.
The two-track process wasn't just sprung on Republicans. Schumer and Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders started working on it over a week ago. Senate and House Democrats have been saying for weeks that they couldn't support a bill that didn't have the larger climate and care economy goals from Biden's original plan. And McConnell himself has been plotting for two weeks on the basis of this plan. They figured they could peel off at least a few Democrats who are in the bipartisan group and break Democrats' unity on reconciliation. Divide and conquer.
Then Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, of all people, shot that down. "Reconciliation is inevitable because basically Republicans I understand on the tax they don't want to undo anything on the 2017 [bill]," Manchin told reporters on Thursday, referring to the massive tax cuts wealthy Republicans passed that year—using budget reconciliation no less. "There's going to be a reconciliation bill. We just don't know what size it's going to be," he added.
So now it’s all about Democrats holding together on reconciliation, but also fighting some of the unacceptable things in the bipartisan bill. Like the "public-private partnerships" that will account for $100 billion to help pay for the plan. That's essentially a fire sale of existing infrastructure to the highest private bidder, a privatization scheme to put our roads and bridges and water systems in private hands, which was exactly what Trump wanted to do when he was thinking about infrastructure. Instead of paying a gas tax, we would all be paying fees to profiteers for using the public goods they would now own. That's not something any Democrat should be signing on to.
The $1 trillion bipartisan deal has other problems: It includes $579 billion in new spending, down from the multiple trillions Biden originally called for. In addition to increasing IRS enforcement on tax cheats, the "pay-fors" in this deal include cutting unemployment insurance (taking funds that had been earmarked for emergency UI in COVID relief packages), raising state and local taxes, selling broadband spectrum and oil, and mandatory cuts to other programs. It does have some climate-related components, but the spending is far below what Biden has proposed. It includes $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations; $7.5 billion for electric buses; $21 billion for environmental remediation; $73 billion to shore up the power infrastructure; and $47 billion in climate "resilience" efforts.
Biden's original proposal for $2.25 trillion on the American Jobs Plan includes $115 billion to modernize bridges, highways, and roads. It has another $85 billion for public transit, $80 billion for Amtrak, and $174 billion to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, to electrify 20% of school buses, and to electrify the federal fleet. He would spend $100 billion on broadband, $25 billion for airports, and $111 billion for water projects.
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