Liberals seethe over bipartisan infrastructure talks

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Politicians often campaign on working across the aisle, cutting through partisan division, and finding common ground. President Joe Biden during his 2020 campaign pledged to seek bipartisanship.

But when it comes to bipartisan negotiations on an infrastructure package, a number of left-wing activists and Democratic politicians say: Forget it.

Republican preferences are too small to be effective, and they are not negotiating in good faith, progressive Democrats argue, and there is an opportunity to pass substantial legislation without Republican support by utilizing the reconciliation process to get around the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster. Democrats already utilized the process to pass the American Rescue Plan earlier this year without any Republican support.

Bipartisan infrastructure talks between Biden and a group of Republicans led by West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito fell apart last week after disagreements over tax hikes and spending. Now, Biden has turned to a different group of Republicans that includes Utah Sen. Mitt Romney in hopes of cutting a deal that can garner 10 Republican votes in the Senate.

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The continued attempts by Biden to seek Republican support are frustrating liberals who want to go as big and bold as possible with infrastructure deals, including spending on “human infrastructure” such as family leave and investments in caregivers. Biden’s proposed “American Jobs Plan” would increase spending by about $2.3 trillion over 10 years.

“Why let Republicans decide the size of an infrastructure bill when reconciliation is a perfectly legitimate process (used unapologetically by the GOP when they were in power) to do a bill that will actually make a difference? It’s not cheating to use the rules,” Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said in a tweet on Friday.

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New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged Democrats to take advantage of their razor-thin 50-50 Senate majority to push through legislation while they still can, noting that Democrats’ 60-vote supermajority in 2009 lasted only a few months before Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy unexpectedly died.

Environmentally focused Democrats are also signaling that they will not support a compromise bill that does not address their priorities, their response to a Biden climate adviser who said an infrastructure plan could omit some of those priorities.

“An infrastructure package that goes light on climate and clean energy should not count on every Democratic vote,” New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich warned in a tweet.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, who is on the more centrist side of the Democratic Party, said that he “wholeheartedly” agreed with Heinrich.

The Sunrise Movement, a far-left environmentalist activist group, rallied in front of the White House last week. Demonstrators held a banner that said, “No compromises, no excuses,” and signs that said, “Our future is not negotiable.”

"No climate, no deal,” added Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey in an MSNBC interview. "They have a package which is climate denial masquerading as bipartisanship,” he said about a new proposal that Republican senators say sets the groundwork for a potential compromise bill.

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A bipartisan group of 10 senators put out a statement Thursday night saying that they “remain optimistic that this can lay the groundwork to garner broad support from both parties and meet America’s infrastructure needs.”

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Tags: News, Congress, Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Infrastructure, Shelley Moore Capito, Mitt Romney, Liberal, Democrats

Original Author: Emily Brooks

Original Location: Liberals seethe over bipartisan infrastructure talks