Congress

Biden May Get His Infrastructure Cake And Eat It Too

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

It has always appeared that the Biden administration and congressional Democrats faced a choice between passing a large, all-encompassing reconciliation bill or a smaller compromise strictly limited to hard infrastructure like roads and bridges.

But what if they didn't have to choose?

The White House and a group of 20 senators including Republicans have announced that they've come to agreement on an infrastructure spending bill, but that does not mean Democrats will not also pass more things to go along with it. Centrist Senator Joe Manchin himself -- who just yesterday came out in support of using reconciliation -- says there will still be a reconciliation bill.

The announcement throws the weight of the White House behind the deal, which would be accompanied by a reconciliation bill that Democrats hope would include priorities cut from the bipartisan package, and would need only 50 votes plus a tie-breaker cast by Vice President Kamala Harris. [...]

At the Rose Garden event, Manchin said “yes” when asked if there would be a reconciliation bill passed by Democrats to accompany the bipartisan bill. He told an NBC reporter on Wednesday that he wants that reconciliation package to focus on tax changes and human infrastructure proposals like child care, retirement, and paid family leave.

By strategically breaking these issues apart, President Biden may ultimately get what he wants, but there's a catch.

The catch is that while Republicans among the group of 20 Senators say they will support the compromise spending bill, it may not be enough to overcome a filibuster led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

I'm not concerned about that, however, because if that's what happens Democrats will have the cover they need to combine everything into one reconciliation bill. Just announcing this agreement today is a political victory for the Biden White House even if it doesn't work in the end.