Clearly, McConnell and the congressional Republicans do not want Biden to succeed, even if they inconvenience millions of Americans, including their own constituents, and endanger the country. McConnell has said as much, as he did when he explained how he was committed to stopping everything and anything Obama wanted to do. And we though that was just racist. Sure it was racist, but it was more about naked partisanship than just McConnell's white nationalist sympathies. He's trying to do the same thing to Biden now.
Even some conservative Democrats have started warning Biden that he's wasting his time trying to work with McConnell. This morning Politico reporters Natasha Korecki and Christopher Cadelago wrote that aside from "a raft of influential progressive and environmental groups," even DC establishment status quo character John Podesta has warned Biden that the Republicans are not negotiating in good faith.
Aside from a sleazy insiders like Podesta, compromised building trades union leaders and careerist environmental groups (like the Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters), leaders of trusted progressive organizations like the Sunrise Movement, the Working Families Party, SEIU, and the People's Justice Council have signed onto a letter to Biden, Schumer and Pelosi urging them to "seize this critical window of opportunity to pass bold jobs and economic investment legislation that responds to the interwoven crises facing this country. We need immediate action that will build a more just, equitable, clean, and more prosperous economy. And while we are grateful for the immediate relief you have provided through the American Rescue Plan, we are concerned by proposals being made in Congress that could delay or weaken the economic recovery investments that are necessary to truly build back better. Specifically, we urge you to swiftly pass legislation that invests at least $4 trillion throughout the economy over this presidential term, bound by high-road labor, equity and climate standards. This legislation would create and retain millions of good-paying union jobs in sustainable infrastructure and buildings, clean energy and transportation, advanced clean manufacturing, care work, regenerative agriculture, natural resource restoration, resilience, and more." These are not Republican Party objectives. In fact, blocking them are Republican Party objectives.
Now is the time to realize a bold agenda for the American people without delay or dilution. Facing deep economic insecurity, systemic oppression, polluted air and water, and climate disasters, millions of people across the country urgently need solutions as big as the crises we face. Those who argue for small-minded measures are on the wrong side of history. We stand ready to work with you to promptly win the comprehensive economic renewal that our communities need, building on the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. To achieve that, scale matters. A recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers found that upgrading U.S. transportation infrastructure, for example, requires more than three times the level of investment put forward by the administration.
Korecki and Cadelago emphasized that this kind of pressure "underscores the diverging coalition the White House must contend with if it is to move Biden’s ambitious infrastructure proposal over the goal line." Conservative Democrats running interference for the GOP-- whether Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and Tom Carper or the Senate or the 10 corrupt scumbags in the House. Manchin and Sinema, for example, "have said they wouldn’t sign onto any package until the White House exhausted its attempts at bipartisanship. With an evenly divided Senate, the White House needs to keep every Democrat on board. At the same time, there’s a benefit to the White House if progressives exert public pressure: It allows Biden to point to each of the warring factions to underscore the need for the kind of compromise he’s offering."
Normal Democrats understand GOP motives and are warning Biden that he "is wasting precious time and political momentum. Evan Weber, political director for the Sunrise Movement, said McConnell’s recent comments that he’d block Biden’s agenda was all he needed to hear. 'We don't think there’s time to sit around and wait to see if they're going to cooperate. They made it very clear,' he said. 'They are literally telling us what they want: They want to obstruct.' Weber added that with the 2022 midterms around the corner, Congress is going to have less of an incentive to do 'anything really productive.'"
Peggy Shepard, co-founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said she feared that if the White House reached an infrastructure-only bill with Republicans, it would leave less incentive for moderates like Manchin to then also sign onto a more expensive, Democrat-only bill that Republicans are sure to cast as part of a “socialist agenda.” [WARNING: Politico uses the word "moderates," which has very positive connotations, to describe the non-fascist conservative mainstream. As far as we can tell, DC media does this to hep bolster the status quo.] A source with knowledge of the White House strategy said if the package is broken into two bills, there would be incentives for Manchin and Sinema to support both.
“I understand the administration, they want the support of all congressional representatives. We all do. But we cannot let trying to get that support scuttle the most important aspect of what needs to be done,” Shepard said. “Bifurcating those needs into two different buckets is not the preferable solution. We then have to assure that there’s support for two bills, not just one … as advocates we have a perspective that we need this legislation right now, we need this in one bill and we need it to be big.”
In the interviews, the coalition of progressives returned repeatedly to the White House’s ambitious climate targets, including reaching net zero emissions economy-wide by 2050...
Some doubt Senate Republican leaders will have much of an appetite to compromise and say even if the GOP comes on board for a more modest transportation bill, they will try to make life difficult for Biden and Democrats as they try to pass a long list of other, partisan priorities.
“History has shown that when one piece is done, the Republican Party-- at least under Mitch McConnell's leadership-- has moved to an obstructionist position in the government,” said Jimmy Williams Jr. of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. “And I think we would hate to see history repeat itself.”
“It would be a missed opportunity. And it would be a wasted opportunity.”
He compared the situation to Obama’s first term, when Republicans dragged out negotiations of the Affordable Care Act for months, only to oppose it en masse in the Senate.
Instead, Williams and others believe Biden stands a better chance of passing a greater number of his proposals by negotiating with Democratic moderates in the Senate from the onset-- leaning into the argument that the GOP isn’t serious-- and pursuing the single bill. “I don't think you start from a position of weakness,” Williams said. “I think you have to start from a position of strength.”
Another topic-- but at least as important: Manchin won't back S.1, the sweeping package of democracy reforms that already passed the House, but he will back the John Lewis Voting Rights Act that is one ultra-crucial part of it. ABC New quoted Manchin this morning: "I believe Democrats and Republicans feel very strongly about protecting the ballot boxes allowing people to protect the right to vote making it accessible making it fair and making it secure and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, if we apply that to all 50 states and territories, it's something that can be done-- it should be done. It could be done bipartisan to start getting confidence back in our system." I'm not sure where he thinks he's going to find 10 Republicans to get this through; I count 4 or 5 tops. Tragically, after the GOP filibusters it to death, Manchin isn't likely to move from his position of protecting the filibuster, not even, as some had suggested, to protect basic democratic rights, like voting, which are under attack from the fascists Manchin and Sinema have been coddling.