The Sinema-Portman group has been working for some time, in parallel with the negotiations Biden had with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, led by McConnell. In those negotiations, Biden surrendered more than half of the original package of more than $ 2.2 trillion, up to a final offer of $ 1 trillion before breaking off negotiations. It would be nice to think that the collapse of those negotiations meant Biden rolling the counter back to $ 2.25 trillion, but that’s probably too much to expect.
This exercise is viewed with a mixture of ambivalence and frustration among Senate Democrats. Senator Angus King, the independent Maine sitting down with the Democrats, calls the effort “a good test. Because that is not a profound policy. It’s not particularly partial. […] If we can’t do that, that’s a bad sign. ”Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, is a realist:“ McConnell wants Biden to fail, ”he says. “There aren’t even 10 Republicans who are even willing to talk to us about compromises. And if we get 10 Republicans, you probably lose some Democrats if it’s too muddy, middle of the street minimalist. “
Case in point: Senator Susan Collins, who is always portrayed as a reasonable Republican and who comes to McConnell whenever it really makes a difference. She puts the whole burden on Biden. “The bigger question is, can the White House accept a more sensible bill that only focuses on infrastructure and broadband and acceptable payments?” asked Collins. This is part of the story that Capito insists that it was Biden who repeatedly pulled the rug from under her feet. “I really don’t take part in the other group,” she told Politico. “They are working on their own tracks. I wish you luck. Just make sure what the president tells you corresponds to what the president really wants. “Again, Biden fell more than 50% on his offers, Capito only 5% and still refused to accept any Consider paying funds that did not involve collecting user fees or stealing COVID-19 tools.
A growing group of Senate Democrats are getting quite uneasy about this erosion, especially after Biden’s national climate adviser Gina McCarthy said the government could remove climate targets from the infrastructure package. In a tweet thread, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said, “OK, I’m officially very concerned now about climate legislation. He is not alone.
This is a big deal. It would be an enormous travesty and betrayal if the climate infrastructure were in the dock when the infrastructure contract sets sail. President Biden – we are counting on you to make sure this doesn’t happen. https://t.co/4naY2GmhKF
– Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) June 9, 2021
I will not only vote against an infrastructure package without climate protection, I will fight against it.
– Ed Markey (deSenMarkey) June 10, 2021
And it’s not just the liberal wing.
One way or another, the McConnell tactic of delay, delay, delay is nearing its end. One of the members of Sinema’s group, Montana Democrat Jon Tester, has a short timeframe. He wants to see the basis for a deal by the end of Thursday: “If we don’t get a deal damn fast, ”he says,“ we won’t have a deal. ”Senator Richard Blumenthal, also not a riot, is ready to go. “I have no confidence that this bipartisan group will come to an agreement. They should only have a limited amount of time to do this. I really think it is time to pull the plug now and act promptly and energetically. […] We just have no time to lose. “
Schumer’s No. 2, Democratic whip Dick Durbin, agrees, saying the Sinema group has “hours, not days” to get the job done. He also says he does not know what the number of votes for reconciliation would be because he did not flog them. It’s damn good time he did.