In its place there is a clear turning point for conversations that are not yet advanced enough to go beyond Biden’s Memorial Day.
The hiatus comes at a crucial time for Biden’s legislative agenda, with a convergence of dynamics that, if mistreated, the prospect of the $ 4 trillion net infrastructure, economic and social security spending he will bring to the table threatens to torpedo.
Some other key agenda items, from police reforms and stricter gun laws to voting rights, are also stuck in slow bipartisan talks.
But in terms of infrastructure, with both sides showing a real willingness to find a way forward, those involved say there’s palpable frustration at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue that the cost is between total cost and what is actually “Infrastructure” makes a big difference The size of a business may not be bridged.
Democrats have spent weeks debating how to pull the needle between a desire not only from Biden but also from key Senate moderates to seek a bipartisan path without the party’s ambitious legislative goals, the White House and both chambers controlled by Congress, undermine.
But with the smallest majority in the House and Senate, any misstep could cost Democrats the exact votes they need to pursue the changes they have advocated – and see as a necessity to have as much success as they do go into a medium-term election year.
“We all know there is a narrow window here,” a Democratic senator told CNN. “Of course we want to make sure we have the votes for everything we push forward, but we also can’t play the game that takes weeks or months.”
The counter offer
While a senior White House official recognized the proposal was still a long way from the $ 568 billion Republican offer on almost every front, the proposal was intended to create some sort of movement – a movement that after two Senator meetings did not Had come about and White House officials later in the week.
But for Republicans, the offer served to bolster a sentiment that has become ubiquitous within the conference since the initial unsuccessful talks about Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion Covid relief plan: Biden himself could close a deal, but his employees are permanently in a different place.
“After today’s meeting, the groups seem further apart after two meetings with White House staff than they did after meeting President Biden,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, the West Virginia Republican who heads the GOP side of the negotiations headed statement Friday.
Republicans also point out that there is disagreement within the Democratic caucus about how long and how seriously bipartisan efforts should be pursued as another signal of caution.
“There has to be a balance of interests and both sides have to want to act. The president and his people want the big thing, but they don’t have the votes for it. And as long as they don’t have the votes for it, we have a window to get a deal.” Second Republican Senator John Thune told CNN. “The people in the room really want a deal and I think the president does too, but I don’t know how motivated the Democrats are up here.”
These are concerns that senior White House officials deny. In this instance, Biden noted that Biden signed the counterproposal and saw a half-trillion cut in his topline not as a final offer but as a way to lose a significant shift in the Senate’s GOP group.
“The president has made a reasonable offer to find a bipartisan common ground that includes critical investments in our infrastructure to create middle-class jobs and strengthen our competitiveness in the world, as well as cuts to his original proposal and a method of payment,” said Andrew Bates, deputy press secretary, CNN in a statement. “The ball is now in their field of play to respond in good faith with a counteroffer.”
The Republicans, they countered, had not strayed from their topline at all, despite their assurance to Biden at a meeting of the Oval Office that they would bring their own counter-offer to the table.
The GOP group plans to meet on Monday to discuss next steps, but it is unclear whether there will be a willingness to put something on the table that is the scope and scale White House officials believe in necessary so that the talks can continue in earnest.
A GOP source involved in the talks said their negotiators believe the offer was designed to get Republicans to move away from the table.
It’s a feeling shared by Republicans on Capitol Hill that underscores another dynamic that exists – neither the Republicans nor the White House want to be seen as moving away from the negotiating table.
The White House also has to manage progressives, who are getting more impatient with each passing day.
Up to this point, Biden’s left flank on Capitol Hill has given the White House the month not least to find consensus, as Democrats are very much aware that moderate Democrats must make a serious effort to be bipartisan before opening the door on the partisan reconciliation process.
But patience is starting to wane.
“I am concerned about our ability to meet the presidential deadline for August if this delay continues, and I am concerned about giving Republicans an opportunity to strategically break the infrastructure bill into things that may be harder to support” said the Democratic Senator. Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island.
Senators have just a week left before the Memorial Day recess, a deadline that Republicans and Democrats recognize as a potential moment when both sides will be forced to assess whether the bipartisan talks are fruitful enough to continue.
“We must have some significant movement by the end of next week if we are to put a deal together,” Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri, told CNN.
There are also a number of smaller, bipartisan efforts. Over the weekend, Capito and Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware unveiled a $ 340 billion overland transportation bill that could serve as a potential building block for a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and a number of smaller bipartisan talks are ongoing, even if lawmakers have passed she still warns to find a breakthrough.
“There are a handful of people out there who want to make sure we try bipartisan first, and I don’t know if those people feel we have exhausted that,” said a Democratic adviser. “We’ll have to wait for Manchin and his friends,” said the aide, referring to the moderate West Virginia Democrat.
The Democrats are still laying the groundwork for a scenario where they’ll have to make it all alone, just in case.
Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budgets Committee, is waiting in the wings ready to work on a budget resolution – the first step in the reconciliation process – once the White House announces its budget. According to aides, the process is expected to begin in June, although that deadline could again pass if ordinary members want more time for bipartisan talks. Democrats on executive committees such as finance chairman Ron Wyden have also begun making proposals to pay for a robust infrastructure plan.
Last week, Republican and Democratic advisors also met with the Senate MP to see if Democrats with an existing budget could try to get the infrastructure passed with just 51 votes. Aiders are still waiting for more clarity on what tools will be available to Democrats. If the MP allowed Democrats to use a budget multiple times for reconciliation, it would mean that Democrats could potentially have multiple options to pass bills this year with just 51 votes.
A decision could come from the MP this week, just like the Democratic legislature has to decide if they’re ready to go ahead without Republicans.
“I would hope we can resolve it soon,” said Dick Durbin, Senate majority whip. “There comes a time when we have to say, ‘This is just not going to happen.'”
Read Also :