President Joe Biden has spent weeks and a sizable amount of political capital to put together an unusual two-part approach to the vast new spending package he characterizes as an “infrastructure” plan.
Now, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has said on July 15 that if House Democrats do not get all of the far-left programs they demand, she and a group of House Progressives will “tank” the bill.
President Biden has reached an agreement with Senate Republicans to make part of the infrastructure bill bipartisan. Just short of $1 trillion of Biden’s program is expected to receive enough GOP approval to receive at least 60 votes, the threshold needed to get past a Republican filibuster that would stop the bill. The bipartisan agreement includes traditional infrastructure projects such as bridges and roads.
The second part of Biden’s plan involves spending on projects that will not receive Republican support, including Medicare expansion, child care, free community college, and several new climate change projects.
Ocasio-Cortez correctly observed that without Republican support in the Senate, it would be necessary to use the budget reconciliation technique to get the package approved for the president’s signature. She said, “House progressives are standing up. We will tank the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless we also pass the reconciliation bill.”
Fox News reported on July 16 on the two-part strategy and the $3.5 trillion included in the reconciliation portion of the plan, quoting Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “You add that to the $600 billion in a bipartisan plan and you get to $4.1 trillion, which is very, very close to what President Biden has asked. Every major program that President Biden has asked us for is funded in a robust way.”
Ocasio-Cortez said further, “If it wasn’t for progressives in the House, we probably would be stuck with that tiny, pathetic bipartisan bill alone. If Sen. Joe Manchin and in the Senate, if they approve our reconciliation bill, we will approve their bipartisan bill. And if they try to strip immigration reform, if they try to, you know, clawback on child care, climate action, etc., then we’re at an impasse, and it’s a no go.”
AOC’s threat to kill the bill is realistic, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s razor-thin House majority can only afford to lose four Democratic votes to ensure passage of any account.