(PresidentialWire.com)- President Joe Biden and the Democrats are back to their old ways — trying to pass legislation on a unilateral basis.
Despite his promise to work with Republicans in Congress upon entering office, Biden doesn’t seem to show much patience in negotiations. After the White House wasn’t able to come to an agreement with a group of Republicans on an infrastructure proposal, the president is now turning to the leader of his party in the Senate to try to pass it through without Republican support.
The White House said Wednesday that Biden is talking with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about ways Democrats could pass Biden’s $2.25 trillion proposal for infrastructure in the same way it passed his economic stimulus package earlier this year — by using budget reconciliation.
That would allow Democrats to force the bill through the Senate with no support from Republicans at all. They would just need all 50 Democrats to vote in favor of the proposal. Then, vice president Kamala Harris — as president of the Senate — would break the tie, assuming all Republicans vote against it.
In a statement this week, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Biden spoke with Schumer recently to “discuss the need to commence work on the budget resolution process so that legislation to advance the President’s economic priorities and tax reform plans could move to the Senate floor in July.
“The President is committed to moving his economic legislation through Congress this summer, and is pursuing multiple paths to get this done.”
One of those “multiple paths” apparently isn’t true negotiation, though. Republicans led by West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito weren’t able to come to an agreement with the White House on a revised infrastructure proposal recently.
That led Biden to go flocking to Schumer quickly to get it done without Republican support. So much for bipartisan politics in Washington.
If Democrats use budget reconciliation to force through the infrastructure proposal, it will be the last piece of legislation they’ll be able to pass this way for the year. The Senate parliamentarian recently ruled that the process could only be used one more time in 2021, putting a dent in Democrats’ hopes to force through huge progressive agendas.
Before the president fully goes that route, though, he’s likely to at least poke around with another bipartisan group of senators — Republican Bill Cassidy from Louisiana and centrist Democratic Senators Krysten Sinema from Arizona and Joe Manchin from West Virginia.
Sources say if those negotiations don’t evolve into much, or if Biden doesn’t believe the proposal could get enough support from Republicans, he will just abandon the negotiations altogether. He seems very impatient, by the account given by sources, and looks to be unwilling to budge very far off his stances.
For his part, Schumer said he’d push forward with bringing an infrastructure bill to the Senate floor in July, whether or not it has bipartisan support.