Progressives are lining up against the all-conservative faux-compromise infrastructure bill. This morning, Bernie said "I wouldn’t vote for it. The bottom line is, there are a lot of needs facing this country. Now is the time to address those needs & it has to be paid for in a progressive way, given the fact that we have massive income, wealth inequality in America."
Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley all agreed that the conservative bill is not something they could vote for. Markey: "I agree that we have many opportunities to put together a progressive tax package in order to pay for the infrastructure climate bill. All working ingredients are there. Obviously there were tax cuts that were given back in the Trump early years. There are other areas where we can look at that will provide the revenue stream that will pay for this program... It’s time for us to go our own way. This is as clear as day. No climate, no deal. We need to move forward with 50 Democratic votes now that the Republicans have shown us they are not serious about creating clean energy jobs, jump-starting a clean energy revolution or adding the standards and investments we need to attack this crisis. We should wrap up our work on a climate infrastructure bill by the August recess. We should wrap up all of the infrastructure bills-- climate and family-- by the August break. We shouldn’t leave from here until we get it done." Schumer says he will trigger the reconciliation process tomorrow. A Republican staffer told me that Schumer "doesn't have the votes" and that Manchin and Sinema will stick with the Republicans. "This is a bluff to appease his liberal critics... and no one with any sense is buying it."
Merkley added that "When the ship sails on infrastructure, energy investments cannot be left on the docks. If there’s no climate, there’s no deaI... If we’re looking at a deal on infrastructure going to the floor that does not have the energy investments in it and [for] which there has not been a deal worked out on reconciliation to have those energy investments, then absolutely not, I will not support the package."
Also today, the White House told congressional Democrats to let McConnell and his sock puppets shove their stalling tactics up their asses and get ready to use reconciliation to proceed with his agenda. This afternoon, Mike Lillis reported that Steve Ricchetti, who is probably Biden's most conservative top advisor, and Shalanda Young from the OMB told them to give the Republicans 10 more days to get serious or to go it alone.
Does the 10 days include Saturday and Sunday? Most progressives have seen through McConnell's treachery and would prefer to give him 10 minutes... if that. John Yarmuth (D-KY), chairman of the House Budget Committee, said after the meeting that "They're giving it a week or 10 days more and that's about it. And then we move along with reconciliation-- for everything." Who's going to deliver Manchin and Sinema? Biden?
Given the protracted impasse, Yarmuth predicted that Democrats will have to act alone to move Biden's two-part infrastructure plan, one part dealing with traditional transportation projects, the other with programs designed to help families financially. Yarmuth is readying his budget to do just that.
"We're assuming right now that everything will be done by reconciliation-- everything meaning the jobs plan and the families plan," Yarmuth said. "That doesn't preclude a bipartisan agreement. If one happens, we just take that part out of the instructions. But right now we're assuming everything will be [done by reconciliation]."
...Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), head of the powerful Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she's skeptical of the Senate negotiations, for three reasons.
First, she doesn't see 10 Republicans breaking ranks to support a top Biden priority. Second, the contours of the Senate proposal, so far, reveal a package far too small to win the support of liberals in either chamber. And third, the gas tax some senators have proposed to help cover the new costs is regressive, in the eyes of liberals, who would oppose the package as a result.
"What we have said consistently is that it would be very difficult for us to vote on a smaller bipartisan package that leaves out so many of our critical priorities," Jayapal said. "And unless we absolutely have the other package-- reconciliation packages-- moving at the same time and we have 50 votes in the Senate for it," then liberals will oppose it.
"That is the challenge for us," Jayapal said. "We're not going to vote on something smaller unless there's something that has everything in it at the same time."
Yarmuth, for his part, said he's aiming to have his budget passed through the House before the long August recess. Asked if it will have the votes to pass, he said he's "confident"-- with an asterisk.
"I'm not overly confident, but I'm confident," he said. "Everybody's committed to getting this done."