Schumer to huddle with moderates on bipartisan infrastructure plan
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) will meet on Thursday with Democrats working on a bipartisan infrastructure framework as he tries to keep his caucus on track to pass President Biden’s more sweeping plan.
Schumer’s meeting comes a day after he huddled with Senate Budget Committee Democrats, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), amid progressive pressure to advance a Democratic-only infrastructure plan.
“Discussions about infrastructure are moving forward along two tracks. One is bipartisan. The second deals with components of the American Jobs and Families Plan, which we will consider even if it lacks bipartisan support,” Schumer said from the floor.
“Yesterday I convened all 11 members of the Senate Budget Committee to discuss the reconciliation track and today I will convene the group of Democrats negotiating with Republicans to discuss the bipartisan track,” Schumer added.
Schumer is trying to balance moderates in his caucus, who are spearheading the effort to find a bipartisan compromise for at least part of President Biden’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan, and a growing number of Democrats who are ready to go it alone and are predicting that, without some sort of guarantee on a separate, Democratic-only package, the bipartisan bill won’t have the votes to pass.
The bipartisan proposal is picking up steam, with 21 senators backing their framework as of Wednesday.
But they’ll need a sizable number of Republicans given that progressives aren’t yet on board to help them get to the 60 votes needed to break a Democratic filibuster.
Sanders has said he won’t support the bipartisan plan and other Democrats, including Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), want a guarantee that there will be 50 votes for a Democratic-only plan in exchange for supporting the smaller bipartisan bill.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on Wednesday that he wouldn’t give that guarantee.
“I would never ask any of my colleagues for an iron-clad commitment … and I expect the same from them,” Manchin said, asked about the push from his progressive colleagues for a guarantee.
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