Was there ever any real doubt in your mind which side-- conservatives or progressives-- lifelong conservative Joe Biden would come down on? He promised progressives he wouldn't sign the grotesquely inadequate all-conservative Infrastructure "compromise" unless the Democrats also presented him with a reconciliation bill that covered the rest of his priorities. And when Republicans abandoned the "compromise," Biden raised the white flag immediately and backed off his loud, clear and deceitful promises he made to, not just congressional progressives, but to the American people. I hate to say I told you so but... I've been watching Biden closely since 1972. This is who he is and who's he's always been. It's why I didn't vote for him in either the primary or the general and helps explain why I abandoned lesser-of-two-evils electoral politics.
Late this morning, Politico's Burgess Everett reported that Biden's domestic agenda appears back on track in Congress, with Republicans praising his newly clarified approach to their bipartisan infrastructure plan and a key Democrat endorsing work on a separate, larger spending package. Two GOP negotiators on the bipartisan infrastructure deal said Sunday that they were mollified by Biden's Saturday statement vowing to support the bipartisan framework on its own merits, rather than withholding his signature until he also received a larger, partisan proposal. Many Republicans interpreted his remarks in the aftermath of their deal on Thursday as an implicit veto threat."
It was just two days ago that the deal seemed to have collapsed because of Biden's contradictory-- and incompatible-- promises to both sides. The source of GOP anger was Biden's public promise to progressive Democrats and the American people counting on him that he would back reconciliation to increasing social spending and raising taxes on the rich, along with the infrastructure deal... The GOP went berserk, claiming that is a betrayal, their position apparently that the parties can work together only if the majority party refuses to pass what Republicans consider "partisan" bills. That's a new wrinkle and is certainly "not one," wrote Jonathan Chait, "Republicans supported when they held majorities. Nor, for that matter, did Democrats ever make such a demand when they were in the minority. During Donald Trump’s first two years, Republicans worked on partisan legislation to cut taxes for the wealthy and repeal Obamacare, while Democrats negotiated (unsuccessful) deals on immigration reform, and then successful bills to provide COVID relief. The Democratic Party view was that bipartisan dealmaking could operate on a separate track from partisan legislation. The parties would fight on issues they disagree on, and cooperate where they agreed. McConnell has always treated Democratic partisan legislation as a kind of offense that compels total warfare in retaliation. McConnell’s calculation may be cold, but it is probably not wrong. He has been admirably clear about his strategy in the past."
Yet on Meet the Press this morning, there was Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy saying he thinks Mitch McConnell will back the deal he and the conservatives from both parties hammered out. "Now, he didn’t like the president, throwing the wrench in there, saying, listen, the two are tied together. That's not what we were told, and so of course that caused a little bit of a, 'Hmm, let's think about this.'... But I think Mitch McConnell wants infrastructure as much as anyone else. He wants the jobs that this will create. I think Leader McConnell will be for it, if it continues to come together as it is."
Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) also agreed to back the conservative infrastructure bill now that Bill has stabbed progressives in the back. On This Week, Portman told Jonathan Karl that he was "very glad to see the president clarify his remarks because it was inconsistent with everything that we had been told all along the way. We were all blindsided by the comments the previous day. I'm glad they've now been de-linked and it's very clear that we can move forward with a bipartisan bill that's broadly popular."
Romney was on with Jake Tapper at State of the Union and he said "I do trust the president and, he made very clear in the much larger statement that came out over the weekend, the carefully crafted and thought through piece by piece, as that if the infrastructure bill reaches his desk, and it comes alone, he will sign it... I recognize that he and his Democratic colleagues want more than that, they want other legislation as well. And we Republicans are saying absolutely no, we will not support a bill which is to be passed with a massive tax increase, and at the same time trillions of dollars in new spending. That is not something we will support." Democrats don't need him or any other Republicans to support that; all they need is all 50 Democrats to back the reconciliation bill Bernie is putting the finishing touches on.
On Thursday, Biden told reporters that "I expect that in the coming months this summer, before the fiscal year is over, that we will have voted on this bill, the infrastructure bill, as well as voted on the budget resolution. But if only one comes to me, this is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem." Yesterday he walked that back. And today one of his spokesmen, Cedric Richmond, also on State of the Union with Tapper, refused to answer a question about what Biden would do if the reconciliation bill is blocked-- by Sinema and/or Manchin-- and never gets to him. Richmond is a pathetic bullshitter who isn't ready for prime time and is only good at regurgitating talking points. The most Tapper could get out of him in a wasted segment was "We passed the Rescue Plan. We're going to pass the Jobs Plan, and we're going to pass the American Families Plan... And I expect that President Biden will sign the infrastructure bill, he will sign the Families Plan."
The skunk on the Sunday shows was McConnell puppet John Barasso (R-WY), who was on Fox saying Republicans he's talked to-- including for the all-conservative fake bipartisan group of negotiators-- are "reluctant to move forward. They're gonna need more assurances from the president that there is no link between this bipartisan bill and the bill that the Democrats want to do... basically a freight train heading toward socialism."
Back to Everett at Politico: "West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, Democrats’ most elusive vote for that plan in an evenly split Senate, indicated on Sunday that he would join in that work on a bigger, separate 'human infrastructure' measure. He also said he would support raising the corporate tax rate to 25 percent and increasing capital gains taxes to 28 percent to help pay for the bill, compromise positions that will nonetheless elate Democrats who want to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy. But he brushed back on Senate Budget Chair Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) proposed $6 trillion price tag and said he’d like to avoid deficit spending on that proposal. Manchin suggested Sanders’ ambitions could be cut by 75 percent or more in order to earn his vote. 'If they think in reconciliation I’m going to throw caution to the wind and go to $5 trillion or $6 trillion when we can only afford $1 trillion or $1.5 trillion or maybe $2 trillion and what we can pay for, then I can’t be there,' Manchin said on This Week."
Want to understand what's at stake here. Meet the Press actually invited a straight-talker on this morning. Watch this one: