Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer is threatening to force a vote on an infrastructure bill in July. However, the language (and reality) of his political situation has led some to believe that he’s either bluffing or willing to vote on a compromise bill that’s sure to infuriate progressives and conservatives alike.
On one hand, a Senate Democrat aide is publicly telling the media that the White House will only spend another two or three weeks trying to come to a bipartisan deal, and if no deal is reached in this time period, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will start the process of moving the bill forward. This means that in the Senate it would be passed under budget reconciliation rules with only Democrat votes. On the other hand, President Biden needs every single Democrat senator to support his bill, and there are at least a few who are unlikely to do so.
While Schumer is putting a priority on passing his party’s bills, some of his colleagues may decide to prioritize their careers. Senators Joe Manchin, Krysten Sinema, and Mark Kelly are all likely suspects in this. Senator Manchin has already publicly expressed concern over the cost of the bill and the fact that it has zero support from Republican senators. Senator Mark Kelly is publicly bragging about being the most bipartisan freshman Democrat senator in the chamber — voting on a partisan bill would tarnish his reputation.
Senators Maggie Hassan and Catherine Cortez Masto are facing challenging circumstances in the upcoming mid-term elections, as is Senator Michael Bennet who won his seat with just 50% of the vote in 2016. Passing progressive legislation would not be in their best interests, and they likely know it.
President Biden’s push to pass a massive infrastructure bill that has little to do with actual infrastructure could be a massive failure. While the president is warning Republican lawmakers not to “get in his way”, members of the President’s own party may be unlikely to get on board with the effort.
As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rightly noted, President Biden doesn’t have a mandate to do as he pleases. Attempts by the president to pass sweeping legislation could not only embarrass the party, but also expose deep divisions between moderate Democrats representing purple states and far-left lawmakers who are eager to remake the United States into a socialist nation.