U.S. President Joe Biden leaves the Oval Office for Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on July 21, 2021.
Demetrius Freeman | The Washington Post | Getty Images
A failed Senate test vote dealt a blow to the bipartisan infrastructure framework, but the plan could have a chance to move forward as early as Monday.
Republicans working on drafting the $ 1.2 trillion proposal voted on Wednesday against taking it forward in drafting final legislation. Despite the setback, the 22 Democratic and GOP senators who worked out the plan said they hope to have a law published and promoted "in the days ahead."
The vote leaves the top priority of President Joe Biden's legislation flowing. If the bipartisan deal to modernize transportation, broadband and utilities fails, Democrats will have to consider combining physical infrastructure plans with their separate $ 3.5 trillion package to tackle climate change, childcare and health care.
Biden believes both plans are critical to stimulating the economy and preparing the country for a warming planet. When asked at a CNN town hall on Wednesday, Biden said he believed the Senate would vote on Monday to advance the bipartisan framework he was negotiating with senators.
"It's a good thing and I think we will do it," he said.
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The Democrats have used a tricky strategy to get both items on their agenda through Congress. They aim to get the physical infrastructure plan passed with Republican votes and then expand the social safety net without GOP support.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Said he wants to make progress on both fronts before the chamber leaves Washington in August. He wants to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan and pass the budget resolution that would allow the Democrats to get their bill through the evenly split Senate by a simple majority.
"My colleagues on both sides should be assured: As the majority leader, I intend to adopt both major infrastructure packages: the cross-party infrastructure framework and a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions before we go into the August recess," he said on Thursday.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said she would not adopt either bill until the Senate passes both of them.
Democratic leaders must keep at least 10 Republican senators on board for the bipartisan plan to pass. They must also not lose a single democratic vote in the Senate to pass their bill through the budget balancing process. It means appeasing the Red State-centrists and the progressives alike.
Some Republicans have resisted the Democrats' plans to include their $ 3.5 trillion package along with the bipartisan infrastructure plan, jeopardizing the passage of both proposals.
When asked Thursday morning whether the physical infrastructure law and aspects of Biden's American Families Plan are still linked, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg gave a weird answer.
"Well, it wasn't linked yesterday. Right? The Senate vote was on the infrastructure article," Buttigieg said in CNBC's Squawk Box.
"I hear a lot about whether it's linked or paired. But no one has been able to explain to me exactly what that means," he added. "I think this is more of an art form than a science. In all honesty, it is more about the politics that the different members have to deal with."
Ohio Senator Rob Portman, the leading Republican negotiator in the bipartisan group, said Democrats' plans to advance the reconciliation move would not detract from his support for the infrastructure bill.
"Well, it's not interrelated, not just in terms of negotiators, but also in terms of the White House and our leadership here," he told CNBC on Wednesday. “It's completely disconnected. It has nothing to do with each other. You will definitely proceed with the reconciliation, Joe. And they always have been, and we understand that. "
Portman said he believed "we'll be ready" with Monday's bipartisan plan.
Several measures show that the US economy has recovered robustly from the Covid-19 pandemic. The leisure and hospitality industry has reinstated millions of chefs, bartenders and service workers, travel demand has sparked a rally in oil and gas prices, and politicians on both sides of the political aisle are concerned about wider inflation.
Other metrics, such as the Labor Department's report on unemployment claims, remain confusing and suggest a slower recovery in the US labor market.
The department said Thursday that initial unemployment claims totaled 419,000 for the week ending July 17, well above the Dow Jones estimate of 350,000 and more than the previous period's revised upwards of 368,000.
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