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By Ryan Clancy | July 26 2021

BIF Close in Senate, but Faces Pelosi Threat in House

After several tense days of doubt, the senators negotiating the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework could finish their work as early as today.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said Sunday morning that the negotiators are “about 90 percent of the way there,” and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said, “We’re down to the last couple of items, and I think you’re going to see a bill Monday afternoon.” Said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), “I don’t think there’s a disagreement on the goal. The challenge has been how to write it so it accomplishes what everybody thinks is important.”

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Sunday that agreement and Senate passage are “very close.”

But the completion of the hard work in the Senate would not mean the BIF is in the clear. Speaker Pelosi said Sunday that while she hopes “that they will pass the bipartisan legislation,” she will not “put it on the floor until we have the rest of the initiative” — that is, until the Senate has also passed a $3,500,000,000,000 social spending and climate plan.

Portman said, “The infrastructure bill has nothing to do with the reckless tax-and-spend extravaganza that she's talking about. … So, no, I’m not happy with what [Pelosi] said because it's inconsistent with the agreement that we have on a bipartisan basis.”

Our No Labels poll found that most Americans agree with Portman, not Pelosi: 72% of all respondents support the BIF, and 76% say passage of the BIF should not be linked to passage of the $3.5 trillion plan. In addition, 61% say the larger plan should pass only if it can attract bipartisan support.

The Senate negotiators deserve credit for being willing to buck their leaders and do the hard work. CNN’s John Harwood writes, “Their willingness to strike that bipartisan deal reflects the broad political appeal of upgrading America's roads, bridges and broadband networks.”

The days ahead will be crucial. The Hill reports that “many House Democrats are irritated by the prospect of potentially being asked to rubber-stamp whatever legislation comes out of the delicate bipartisan Senate negotiations,” and Pelosi will use this reluctance to try to force linkage of the two measures — or to kill the BIF and roll infrastructure into an even larger multi-trillion spending package.

This is the time for supporters of two-party solutions to get in touch with their representatives in the House, and urge them not to let Pelosi risk the passage of an infrastructure plan voters and legislators of both parties clearly want.

Also…

·       Axios: “President Biden will highlight the bipartisan roots of the Americans with Disabilities Act” at an event today marking its anniversary. Biden will cast the ADA as “a product of passion and compassion — not partisanship.”

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