You will be shocked, shocked to learn that Senate Republicans who didn’t even want to do an infrastructure bill with Trump in the White House have less than no interest in doing to under Biden:
Washington’s bipartisan infrastructure talks may soon look a lot like its cicada population: squashed after staggering around haplessly.
Senate Republicans negotiating with the White House sounded dour notes on Monday evening and are mulling whether to even make a counteroffer to President Joe Biden’s proposal last week. Democrats are increasingly calling for Biden to consider going it alone rather than see the GOP water down his agenda.
An unofficial deadline for a bipartisan accord on infrastructure hits a week from now and negotiators are some $1.5 trillion apart, with severe differences in both size and scope, after more than a month of talks. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said Republicans won’t come up “anywhere near the number the White House has proposed,” and Democrats are even more skeptical that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will green-light a deal they find palatable.
“We’re too far apart. Because I think Mitch’s ultimate purpose is not compromise but delay and mischief,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who sounded less urgent notes in an interview last week. Biden is “entitled to his judgment on this but if I were in a room with him, I’d say it’s time to move on.”
This is a painfully stupid kabuki, but no matter how many times we go through this we have to do it again because weeks of giving champagne handjobs to “moderate” Republicans who will never agree to anything is the price demanded by moderate Democrats to have any chance of getting them to vote for a reconciliation bill:
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the next move is up to Republicans and the White House is “not quite there” at bailing on the talks. The main holdups are moderate Democrats, who are signaling they still aren’t quite ready to go it alone on a massive new spending bill, ensuring the plodding talks continue for at least a few more days.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) both said they remain hopeful about bipartisan negotiations. Asked about the obviously dire state of the talks between Biden and Republicans, centrist Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said: “It’s always darkest before dawn.”
I remain very hopeful about being winning the PowerBall lottery this week, we’ll see who gets lucky first. Ah, the world’s greatest deliberative body.