Early Light

By Ryan Clancy | July 27, 2021

“We’re Not Pulling the Plug”

“Expect Delays.”

It’s a sign you see on the side of the highway when major work is underway, and it’s also a basic rule of Congress when major legislation is being crafted. As Axios says, “The final stretch of any substantial legislation is always the hardest to complete.”

But that doesn’t mean the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is not at risk, and it doesn’t mean supporters can let their guard down. The stakes and implications of failure are immense.

The White House, to its credit, has contributed mightily to getting us to this point, with quiet, well-timed, and direct intervention in the Senate talks. We are at another moment that requires such intervention. Says Punchbowl: “This is the type of moment where presidents can force something to happen. We’ll see if Biden does that here.”

The AP says the president struck an “upbeat tone” Monday, “telling reporters at the White House he remained optimistic about reaching a compromise.” Lead negotiators also expressed optimism, despite frustrations:

·       Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “We’re not pulling the plug. We’re trying to get the best infrastructure bill, with bipartisan movement…and we’re hoping to get that done.”

·       Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): “This is heading in the right direction. It’s a big, complicated bill.”

·       Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT): “I feel bullish that it will be done by [Tuesday] morning. Is there still outstanding issues? Yeah. Nobody’s bailed.”

According to Politico, Senate Majority Leader Schumer said he was “fully committed” to passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill this summer, though he urged negotiators “to get to yes and produce an outcome.” Though the Senate usually leaves town on Thursday afternoon, CNN says Schumer “put senators on notice they might stay in session through the weekend.”

GOP senators faced new pressure Monday from Donald Trump, who said Republicans should not make a deal “until after we get proper election results in 2022 or otherwise, and regain a strong negotiating stance.” Schumer said Trump is “rooting for our entire political system to fail.”

It’s essential that it does not. America needs the BIF. A new analysis says the BIF “would create nearly half a million manufacturing jobs before the end of President Biden’s first term” — and Axios says the danger is that at some point, Schumer may “bail and turn to a catchall, Democrats-only reconciliation bill.”

Biden himself may resist the big one-party approach. Axios says the president is aware that too much spending could lose Democrats control of the House, and will “resist pressure from the party’s muscular left to add elements to his proposals that could sink them.”

That’s all the more reason for the president to step in and get a BIF deal done now.

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