Business lobbying groups hope to divide moderate and progressive Democrats over the $3.5 trillion spending bill that is opposed by American corporations over a planned corporate tax hike, The Hill reports.
The lobbyists recently hailed the agreement made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and almost a dozen moderate House Democrats to hold separate votes on the spending bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill the Senate has already passed. The Hill notes business groups saw this move as a victory that could cause moderates to gain an advantage when it comes to the planned reconciliation package, and they hope to continue chipping away at progressives' plans to increase taxes on multinational corporations.
"The business community has made progress with certain Democrats on legitimate policy concerns with some of these proposals and their implications on the economy and international competitiveness," an unnamed lobbyist connected to Senate Democrats told The Hill. "A lot of those arguments are landing."
Moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., along with several House centrists led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., have all come out with concerns about plans to increase corporate taxes and the scale of the spending plan.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce signaled support for moderates in their attempts to split the spending bill from the infrastructure package, and is planning to combat potential opposition from progressives on the infrastructure bill when it comes to a vote in the House.
"Anyone who needlessly delays or tries to kill this bill is holding back our nation," Chamber President and CEO Suzanne Clark said last week, in a statement. "I don't know how anyone could go home and explain to their constituents that they voted to block money to fix a crumbling bridge or to replace lead water pipes running into schools."
Progressives have pushed back, saying the House should focus on passing the Democrats' reconciliation package before moving forward with the infrastructure bill.
"We've been very clear and very consistent from the beginning that the only way that this infrastructure plan has a chance is if reconciliation comes through," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said last week, noting the infrastructure legislation will likely fail to garner enough support from members of the GOP to overcome progressives.
However, business groups hope the Sept. 27 deadline for a reconciliation package will force progressives to compromise to avoid a government shutdown.
"[House Democrats] are probably going to blow by that September date," one unidentified lobbyist with experience working for Republicans in the House told The Hill. "There is just too much on their plate right now."
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