Building bipartisan support for a planned major infrastructure bill is proving to be heavy lifting for Democrats trying to navigate congressional roadblocks.
As operatives work toward writing a bill that has a shot at landing on President Joe Biden's desk, The Hill reported on Tuesday that Democrats are trying to structure the bill to be bipartisan, which is Biden’s preference. But Democrats' desire for some visible progress with the legislation in the next few months could ultimately relegate Republicans to the sidelines again.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., on Monday was caught on a C-SPAN hot mic telling Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that, to get an infrastructure bill through Congress, the party will "most likely have to use" reconciliation, which would allow them to bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster instead of passing the bill in a bipartisan fashion.
Democrats want to move a bill out of committee by the end of May and get it to Biden by September.
"We’ve got a clock on everything we’re doing, especially because the present surface reauthorization is up in September," Buttigieg said, Politico reported. "We’re not waiting until September in order to act. Conversations are taking place right now ... [including] Oval Office meetings with the president, leaders from both parties, and both Houses."
Obstacles to obtaining some bipartisan backing include the likelihood Democrats include climate change language and tax increases in the bill.
“I don’t think raising taxes in a recession is a good idea ... I think they’ve got a mess on their hands and they’re trying to figure their way out of it,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who did acknowledge the bill needs to be paid for "somehow," The Hill reported.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the No. 2 Senate Republican, emphasized GOP senators would not agree to any infrastructure bill that includes undoing part of the 2017 tax law, something which is reportedly under consideration by the White House.
Despite the disagreements, several Democrats are continuing efforts to reach across the aisle.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said all 100 senators have been asked "to spend the next several weeks communicating with their governors, communicating with their state departments of transportation to better understand what their state’s priorities are with respect to surface transportation, and to provide input to our committee staff."
Regarding the possibility of tax hikes in order to fund the infrastructure plan, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it was too early to talk about how to pay for a package, given that one has not been unveiled.
She did emphasize, however, that "the president remains committed to his pledge from the campaign that nobody making under $400,000 a year will have their taxes increased. His priority and focus has always been on people paying their fair share and also focusing on corporations that may not be paying their fair share either."
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.