“We’re the Closest That We’ve Ever Been”

“We’re the closest that we’ve ever been, and it looks like we’re teed up for major action soon.”

So said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday, referring to both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Democratic social spending bill. Democrats have stepped back from hopes of voting on both bills by Tuesday, but still plan to vote this week.

Passage of the infrastructure bill would allow President Biden to sign it into law. But the Build Back Better spending bill — now pegged at about $1.75 trillion — would need Senate approval. According to Politico, Buttigieg “did not say whether some of progressives’ unresolved issues, such as negotiating lower drug prices and paid family leave, would make it into the spending plan,” and “wouldn’t say whether he could guarantee that House Democrats will pass both bills this week.”

That’s because, while it appears Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has signaled he can back a $1.75 trillion package, he has not endorsed the specific White House framework. In short, Manchin has accepted the size of the package, but still needs to know what’s in it.

Many Americans might agree. A new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that 69% of Americans “said they know just some or little to nothing about what’s in both bills,” and just 31% “said they know a great deal or good amount.”

That’s no surprise, since the reconciliation package weighs in at 2,468 pages, and it’s being rushed through without debate. The House can and should get infrastructure done. Both houses should take time to think about the rest.



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