We may be reaching a critical point with regard to congressional negotiations on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal.
Breitbart reports Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg as suggesting that congressional Democrats may be about to end negotiations with the Republicans and instead try to push the bill through on their own.
“A fish or cut bait moment”
Buttigieg’s comments came during a recent appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” There, Tapper asked, “Are you basically saying that in the next week if there isn’t an agreement, Democrats are going to go it alone?”
“I think we are getting pretty close to a fish or cut bait moment, but I’ll tell you on the fishing side of things, the negotiations have been healthy,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg continued by claiming that there have been “a lot of conversations going on,” that lots “of different ideas and discussions” have been taking place. Accordingly, Buttigieg said that “we believe in this process,” but he added that “this can’t go on forever.”
“The American people want results,” Buttigieg said. He later added, “This can’t go on in terms of the condition of our infrastructure. Therefore, negotiations can’t go on forever either.”
Congress is currently negotiating Biden’s $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan.
Republicans have criticized that plan for the fact that it goes way beyond what is traditionally thought of as infrastructure. Accordingly, they have been trying to reduce Biden’s proposal to something more reasonable. They did so with a $928 billion counteroffer this week, but it doesn’t appear that Biden or the Democrats are too happy with that counteroffer.
The Associated Press reports an adviser of Biden’s as saying that “while the president welcomed the increased spending level by the Republicans as encouraging, he is concerned that it does not do enough to meet the scope of his proposal, and omits key features such as investment in veterans hospitals and a green-energy economy.”
The Associated Press also, like Buttigieg, suggested that Biden may soon end negotiations with the Republicans and try to proceed without them.
What this would entail is either another use of budget reconciliation, which essentially eliminates the Senate fillibuster, or the elimination of the Senate fillibuster.
It is unclear whether Biden has enough Democrats on board to do either, as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have both declared that they are against such ideas.