Texas Rep. Chip Roy is the latest Republican to shout out Republican strategy in dealing with President Joe Biden and particularly on infrastructure: "do everything we can to slow all of that down to get to December of 2022." Speaking to a group of supporters, he talked about the "alleged" bipartisan negotiations delaying action on the bill that was supposed to be done first by Memorial Day, then by the Fourth of July. "I actually say 'Thank the Lord—18 more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done.' That's what we want."
That's what Senate Republicans are delivering, seemingly at the behest of their leader Mitch McConnell, who has also not been at all shy about his goals for the Biden administration. He's bragged about his 100% commitment to blocking Biden's initiatives. He's said that he has "total unity from Susan Collins to Ted Cruz in opposition to what the new Biden administration is trying to do to this country."
As if to punctuate that, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican leader, told a group of GOP donors: "Mitch McConnell's come under a lot of criticism for saying at one point he wanted to make sure that Barack Obama was a one-term president. I want to make Joe Biden a one-half-term president.
"I want to do that," he continued, "by making sure they no longer have the House, Senate and White House." Barrasso, by the way, is also among those "crucial" senators who ExxonMobil is counting on to scuttle the infrastructure bill and especially the repeal of Trump's corporate tax giveaway that Biden and Democrats have proposed to help pay for it.
These guys aren't making any kind of secret about their agenda. There's no reason for the White House, the ExxonMobil Democrats "negotiating" with Republicans on infrastructure, or the traditional media to pretend otherwise. This isn't about finding 10 good Republicans investing in a bill for the good of the country. It's about Republicans using every tactic at hand to delay, delay, delay.
McConnell is steadfastly refusing to bless any bipartisan effort, but said in a wide-ranging interview with The Atlantic's Peter Nicholas, "If this infrastructure bill goes somewhere, believe me, I'll be in the middle of it." If it goes somewhere, which it won't because he's not going to allow that. He also promised Tuesday: "This is going to be a hell of a fight over what this country ought to look like in the future. And it's all going to unfold here in the next few weeks."
What McConnell wants the country to look like is 1950 America—white men in charge and everyone else knowing their place, with the fossil fuel industry setting the agenda when it comes to infrastructure. Again, he is making absolutely no effort to hide the fact that he's not going to give an inch and that he's not going to allow 10 Republicans to do so, either.
All this pretending otherwise is getting to be tiring, and destructive. Biden has already lost critical months of momentum following his great success on the American Rescue Plan for COVID-19 relief. It's allowed obstructionist Democrats like Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin—who seem not to recognize just how much they are being used by McConnell—to dig in against progress.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer both intend to have a budget resolution that will include reconciliation instructions for the larger infrastructure bill done by the end of July. The budget reconciliation bill is intended to include everything that the bipartisan bill won't, and potentially more. There's a new move to include immigration reform and a path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Dreamers, beneficiaries of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, farmworkers, and undocumented immigrants deemed essential workers during the pandemic.
That's along with all Biden's other priorities for the care economy and "human infrastructure." Democrats are eyeing this as the one chance to get their highest-priority policies passed, many of the things McConnell has been blocking with the filibuster since Barack Obama was president. It might seem a lot simpler for Democrats just to do away with the filibuster, which, yes it would be in a world without the egos of Manchin and Sinema.
But here we are, the two of them having become McConnell's biggest enablers in subverting the will of their Democratic colleagues, their president, and all the voters who elected them.