Biggest Infrastructure Package Week Ev-Ah

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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9 Responses

  1. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    Its more then we got from Infrastructure Don, who promised us a “big package” for four years and never delivered, all the while blaming Democrats for not wanting to support infrastructure.Report

  2. Michael Cain
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    says:

    Introducing a new $3 trillion package, which is expected to include tax increases to offset spending, is sure to frustrate Republicans, setting up another acrimonious legislative fight.

    Is the writer not paying attention? The fight won’t be with the Republicans, it will be within the Democrats. Either Pelosi/Schumer have the votes to put it in the budget resolution for FY22 and then handle it under reconciliation, or they don’t. If not under reconciliation, either Schumer has the votes to suspend the filibuster, or he doesn’t. For two years controlling all of the House, the Senate, and the Oval Office, Congressional Republicans introduced zero infrastructure spending. They’re not going to have a sudden change of heart.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain
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      says:

      And they are certainly not going to be swayed if the bill has a lot of social spending they never liked in the first place.Report

    • JS in reply to Michael Cain
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      says:

      I don’t think anyone expects the GOP to do anything but scream incoherently.

      It’s moved onto the clear and ongoing fight about what to do about it — specifically, about the filibuster. Now much of the actual discussion (specifically with Manchin and Sinema) is going on behind the scenes, but enough of it is being deliberately done in the press to indicate there’s a full-court press going on for change. I suspect the real discussion is how far they can push “reform” and still get Manchin onboard, but he’s already started waffling.

      Biden’s clearly arm-twisting, the bulk of the Democratic Senate is onboard, and Mitch has already twisted the dial up to 11 screaming about it, and the Dems have a lot of big bills they clearly want to pass that can’t with the filibuster in place. The media and public opinion has clearly shifted enough for this to become an arguable position instead of reflexively shot down as “think of TRADITION”.

      I can’t say whether they’ll be successful, but a couple of things have become clear. First, the vast majority of Democratic Senators seem onboard with the idea that the filibuster does more harm than good and that they don’t care about the shoe being on the other foot — that it’s a net benefit to end it (in fact, I suspect many believe that the GOP rather likes the filibuster — it lets them constantly run on the same issues without having to deliver results, results that might turn out to be incredibly unpopular if enacted. The equivalent of passing base-pleasing, but obviously unconstitutional, bills. When it fails, you point out you did what you promised, but they need to vote for your team even HARDER to deal with those “pesky judges” — win/win/win).

      If it actually comes to a head and gets into an actual vote — my money’s on the voting rights bill being the issue. Optically, it’s a good one for Democrats against the backdrop of massive post-2020 voter suppression efforts, and it’s a critical Democratic bill.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to JS
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        says:

        Yeah, HR1 is the obvious choice. The version that came out of the House is better than what was introduced. I still think it needs some work to accommodate states that are vote by mail as the rule and in-person as the exception, and have told my (D) Senators that.Report

      • North in reply to JS
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        says:

        Agreed. If they pull the trigger on anything it obviously should be HR1.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Michael Cain
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      says:

      My understanding is that, having already passed one spending bill via reconciliation this year, they can’t do another one until next session. Is that wrong?Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Brandon Berg
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        says:

        One to three bills for each fiscal year, depending on how they want to split up the topics of revenue, spending, and the deficit/debt. Congress did not previously pass a budget resolution for FY21, so the newly unified Congress passed one and the Covid bill was done under reconciliation for the current year. The infrastructure bill would be handled under the FY22 process. (Which would also imply none of the infrastructure spending would happen before October.)

        Given October, I don’t expect a huge rush on the infrastructure bill. I’m sure leadership would prefer not to have to do it under reconciliation. I think they’ll run HR1 through the Senate committee process and try to bring it to the floor to see if they can get the filibuster relaxed, and by how much.Report

        • JS in reply to Michael Cain
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          says:

          Offhand, I suspect their best bet is to force a ‘speaking filibuster’ with a slight rules change to handle quorum issues when the filibuster ends. I’m not sure if those rules have already been altered, but I believe one issue back in the old days was the majority had to more or less camp out in the Senate waiting for the end — whereas the filibustering party merely had to have someone to yield the floor to when they needed a break.

          The burden on a filibuster should be on the filibustering party, so if there is no one to yield the floor to it should basically ‘close’ the filibuster and gavel out for the day, debate ended and ready for the vote.

          Manchin has waffled enough on that to think he’s open to persuasion, but the question is whether he’s looking for something specific from Schumer or he’s simply waiting for the right optics.

          PR wise, “reforming” the filibuster to work like every non-political junkie thinks it does — that is, the filibustering party bears the burdens of it entirely — is not the most difficult sell. “Reforming the filibuster to make it work exactly the way you thought it already did” is at least straightforward.Report

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