New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich sums up where this chunk of Democrats stand on this two-bill idea: “I think that’s a very dangerous approach to this unless we have a very well-defined and secure commitment from the necessary senators to be able to be assured,” Heinrich said, referring back to those missing five Republicans on a narrow infrastructure bill without climate policies. “I’m not a redline guy, but I’m not in a mood to ignore the greatest existential threat to my children’s generation.” Sen. Chris Murphy from Connecticut is there, too:
Why let Republicans decide the size of an infrastructure bill when reconciliation is a perfectly legitimate process (used unapologetically by the GOP when they were in power) to do a bill that will actually make a difference? It’s not cheating to use the rules.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 11, 2021
As is Sanders, chair of the Budget Committee and again, pretty critical to getting a large package passed. “The problem is this country faces enormous issues that have been ignored and neglected for a very long period of time,” he said. “Even if you look at infrastructure from the narrow perspective of roads and bridges, it’s inadequate. That’s not me talking, that’s the American Society of Civil Engineers.”
Sanders also pointed to a problem in their plan, which by all accounts would include raising the gas tax by tying to inflation. “I think the gas tax is a fairly regressive way of funding transportation. It hurts rural America especially hard,” said Sanders. The White House doesn’t like it, either.
It should also be said, when looking at the possibility that there could be 10 Republicans in the Senate willing to actually do something to help the nation, this agreement might just be vapor as the members of the very group who supposedly reached it are definitely not on the same page.
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said talks are “in the middle stages” but that there wouldn’t be a deal Thursday. Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana said there was no agreement but “we might” get there, then listed the key problem of disagreement over total spending and how to pay for it. “For some people it’s going to be plenty, for others it’s not going to be near enough. There’s going to be challenges for Republicans and Democrats,” Tester said. “The words [Republicans] use are: we have a general, total agreement.” He’s saying, without saying it, that Republicans are lying.
That doesn’t bode well for progress in this group.