Congress

Dems May Pass Biden’s Spending Proposals As One Bill

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Early on, the White House made a decision to split President Biden's spending proposals into separate theoretical bills with one focused on the most visible infrastructure projects like roads and bridges and the other focused on the background like daycare and education.

They split Biden's proposal into two parts assuming it would be more digestible to the public and members of Congress but, ironically, congressional Democrats are now saying that passing it as one bill is the most likely path forward.

Congressional leaders are calculating that it will be easier to get Joe Manchin to walk the plank and cast a vote once rather than twice.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), a close Biden ally, has little hope that Democrats will reach an agreement with Republicans on the “big, bold” agenda the party is touting. He predicted the likeliest path forward will be one large package, all done through so-called budget reconciliation to work around a Senate filibuster. [...]

If and when Democrats begin drafting a bill to pass on their own, it would likely resemble a greatest-hits collection from both Biden’s infrastructure and new social spending plans — minus whatever components can’t win support from moderate Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

And while most Democrats aren’t giving up a bipartisan process in public, they said that their party is closer to moving forward without the GOP. Senate Banking Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said he assumed his party would have to use reconciliation and would finish its work by the end of the summer.

I had assumed that congressional Democrats would pass Biden's American Jobs Plan this summer and pass the American Family Plan or something resembling it after the holidays, but that was based on the idea that it would be passed in two parts. Combining the two means this could all happen much sooner than I expected.

The phrase "minus whatever components can’t win support" is obviously doing a lot of work here, but combining the two proposals into one bill may allow Democrats to get more things by Manchin and Sinema, not fewer. The truth is larger bills with more parts are harder to comprehend and that does offer some level of plausible deniability if you're a centrist who doesn't want to explain every detail.

It's anyone's guess what a final bill will look like, but making huge proposals to begin with means the final bill will be substantial even if it's scaled down for passage.