Two-Track Infrastructure Plan: Biden is Eager for Everything but Passing the Bill Without Republicans

by Eli Mshomi
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President Joe Biden’s announcement of the infrastructure plan created a mess in Congress, as mshomi.com initially predicted. 

After a series of talks, we are not done yet. As both the parties reached a bipartisan spending plan of $1.2 trillion, Democrats tried to pass another reconciliation bill with the infrastructure plan, but after facing backlash, it just backtracked.

The agreed-upon infrastructure package only includes the funding of the power infrastructure, roads and bridges, internet services, and rail services to catch up with the developing pace of the world.

Despite having the ability to pass the bill single-handedly, Biden pursued bipartisanship talks to trim down the infrastructure plan.

As President Biden announced, “We have a deal,” signaling towards his new reconciliation package, Republicans went all bonkers now.

Lindsey Graham: One of the GOP Senator responsible to make Biden backtrack from his initial promise of not signing the infrastructure bill alone.

Lindsey Graham: One of the GOP Senator responsible to make Biden backtrack from his initial promise of not signing the infrastructure bill alone.

Biden played his trump card, saying that he would veto the infrastructure bill if it comes to him without the reconciliation package. However, a bit of backlash forced him to drift away from his plan. As Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that Biden made Republicans look like “fucking idiots,” Biden backtracked saying,

 

“My comments also created the impression that I was issuing a veto threat on the very plan I had just agreed to, which was certainly not my intent.”

(Joe Biden)

 

What is this two-track bill of Democrats, and is it likely to be passed from Congress? Let’s see.

Despite announcing that he will veto the infrastructure bill if it comes without the reconciliation bill, Biden's U-turn depicts a weak leadership.

Despite announcing that he will veto the infrastructure bill if it comes without the reconciliation bill, Biden’s U-turn depicts a weak leadership.

Bipartisan Talks on Infrastructure Bill: Ecstasy for Republicans, Agony for Democrats

Coupled with the traditional infrastructure, Democrats have presented a “human infrastructure” bill as well. Both Republicans and Democrats negotiated for a long to settle the definition of the term infrastructure.

The bipartisan talks are a major victory for the Republicans, as they have successfully forced Biden to cut down the bill to half of the initial worth.

One of the bones of contention between both parties was the funding of the projects. Biden had an election manifesto to increase the taxes on Americans earning more than $400,000 per year.

He did try to achieve this through an infrastructure plan, but Republicans put a roadblock in his path. The only thing Republicans envision is protecting the 2017 tax cuts, which are considered a significant favor from Donald Trump to the corporate sector.

Now the bill will be sponsored by a relatively smaller tax increase, unused money from COVID relief programs, the leftover unemployment insurance funds, and oil sales.

It was a significant loss at the end for Democrats as well, considering that Biden failed to convince Republicans on schools, climate, and caregivers funding.

Similarly, he has often decried to bring wealthy Americans onboard to enforce them to pay their fair share in the US economy. Now, he has comprised on these provisions just for the sake of Republican unity.

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Human Infrastructure Bill: A Beginning of Another Congressional Tussle:

But Biden did play his trump card, a “human infrastructure” reconciliation bill, and linked it with the main bill. Biden has straightforwardly said that he will veto the bill if it comes without the approval of the reconciliation bill.

Calling them a “tandem,” initially, the message was, no doubt, depicting his will to pass the infrastructure plan only with the reconciliation bill.

But he is unable to sustain even a slight backlash from Republican ranks who can exploit the president anytime. Now, Republicans’ pressure groups have once again made Biden not walk the talk. He has already said that he has no intent to veto the bill.

Republicans are highly unlikely to support him in passing the reconciliation bill now without any imminent threat of veto.

Lindsey Graham, one of the senators involved in the bipartisan talks, and the opposition minority leader Mitch McConnell have indicated Republicans are not planning to entertain the Democratic presented bill.

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While on the other hand, progressives in Democrats have also called not to vote for the infrastructure package if the reconciliation bill fails to attract votes.

But even without progressives’ votes, the infrastructure bill can now be passed from the Senate, considering that Republicans would support it.

 

Final Thoughts

Biden’s bid to engage with Republicans was a faulty policy in the first place. Anticipating the imminent mistrust and Republicans’ denial of the bill, Biden should have pursued the alternate option to pass the bill without Republicans’ votes through budget reconciliation.

It would have allowed him to chase his all-inclusive plan of $2.3 trillion without compromising on even a single cent.

Now he has already compromised on his election manifesto just because of achieving bipartisanship.

It’s still not too late for Biden to go that route of dodging Republicans. Biden has already made a lot of compromises with Republicans. He even failed to bring Republicans on a $1.7 trillion infrastructure package.

It seems that the possession of the White House by the Democrats has become useless, with little to no effectiveness of Biden’s executive authority and the senatorial majority of Democrats who could get the bill passed with no worries through budget reconciliation.

He needed to safeguard the $4 trillion human infrastructure bill with other measures because now, he will once again pursue bipartisan talks with Republicans to trim this reconciliation bill with funding for health care and child care.

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