At least two Senate Democrats remain unconvinced about President Joe Biden’s $3.5 Trillion infrastructure bill that has been referred to as a trojan horse package for various extensive spending programs that strain the standard definition of “infrastructure.”
The bill includes provisions for expanding medicare, global warming initiatives, low-income housing, subsidized child care, and racial equity and environmental justice programs.
Biden plans to visit the Senate this week to persuade Democrats to support his plan and is expected to target Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).
Manchin stated last week, “I’m concerned about inflation, I’m concerned about a competitive tax code, I’m concerned about environmental standards that leave people behind in all these things. I want it to proceed. I want to sit down and be part of that, sure. And figure if we run into a roadblock, we’ll run into one later. But you don’t start out that way.”
Tester has expressed his desire to debate the contents of the plan. “I want to have a debate on it. I want to have the opportunity to discuss it, see what’s in it before I say ‘no’ or ‘yes,’” he said last week.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated on July 13 that the President lacked the votes needed from Senate Democrats to move the bill forward. “If there were enough votes for each of these priorities, there would be a vote, and it would have happened,” Psaki said.
Psaki was referring to the “two-track” infrastructure Democratic plan, with one bill going forward with a filibuster-proof reconciliation vote of 50 Democrats plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. The other, smaller bill would have to have bipartisan support and receive 60 votes.
Biden announced on June 24 that he had reached the bipartisan agreement on the non-reconciliation part of the package after negotiating with Senate Republicans for weeks. The bipartisan portion ended up with spending just under $1 trillion.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) stated in the House last week that she wanted to “kill” the bi-party infrastructure package unless in the Senate through the Reconciliation Bill and everything.