Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to act on debt ceiling next week White House warns GOP of serious consequences on debt ceiling Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees MORE (Ky.) vowed Tuesday that Republicans would wage a "hell of a fight" over attempts by Democrats to pass a sweeping multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan along party lines.
McConnell, speaking at an event in Kentucky, predicted that there would be a "big argument" about Democrats' plan to use reconciliation, which allows them to bypass Republicans in the Senate, to pass large swaths of President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE's jobs and families plan.
"The era of bipartisanship on this stuff is over. ... This is not going to be done on a bipartisan basis. This is going to be a hell of a fight over what this country ought to look like in the future and it's going to unfold here in the next few weeks. I don't think we've had a bigger difference of opinion between the two parties," McConnell said about the spending package.
"There is a process by which they could pass this without a single Republican. But we're going to make it hard for them. And there are a few Democrats left in rural American and some others who would like to be more in the political center who may find this offensive," McConnell added.
McConnell's remarks come as the Senate is in a two-week July 4 recess. Once it returns, Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) is wanting to vote on both a smaller, bipartisan infrastructure plan and the budget resolution, which allows Democrats to pass a second larger bill along party lines, before the Senate leaves in early August until September.
Democrats haven't yet agreed on how big to go on their Democratic-only bill, something they need to figure out before taking up the budget resolution that greenlights and includes instructions for reconciliation.
Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee, led by independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Sanders 'disappointed' in House panel's vote on drug prices MORE (Vt.), are talking throughout the two-week break to try to agree on the top-line figure. Sanders has floated going as high as $6 trillion, while moderate Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-W.Va.), who is not on the panel, has suggested he could support around $2 trillion.
In order to move forward with a Democrat-only bill, Schumer needs total unity from his 50 members on both the budget resolution and the subsequent infrastructure bill.
Two of the biggest wild cards for the Senate, Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week Biden goes after top 1 percent in defending tax hikes MORE (D-Ariz.), have suggested they are open to using reconciliation but haven't signed onto voting for a specific figure.
McConnell, speaking in Kentucky, called Biden a "nice guy" but that he hasn't "seen any evidence yet of moderation" from the administration.
"On things of this magnitude ... we're not going to have an agreement. We're going to have a big argument. ... There's no mandate to do this stuff. So we're there to argue about this and to hopefully in the end prevail," he said.
But McConnell also added that "we do not hate each other."
"We do a lot of things on a bipartisan basis. ... It's not that we have personality problems with each other, it's not that we have a lack of collegiality. On the things we can agree on, we do them," he said.
McConnell's comments come as the White House and a bipartisan group of senators are trying to build support for a roughly $1.2-trillion, eight-year infrastructure deal.
A group of senators, led by Sinema and Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes Overnight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — GOP senator: It's 'foolish' to buy Treasury bonds Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken MORE (R-Ohio), joined Biden at the White House late last month to announce that they had reached a framework on a deal.
That was thrown into limbo after Biden suggested he wouldn't sign the bipartisan deal if it came to his desk without the larger, Democrat-only bill — remarks that he ultimately walked back amid intense GOP fury. Republicans have still signaled concerns that Democrats are trying to link the two bills in the House.
Some top Senate Democrats have also signaled skepticism about how the bipartisan deal would be paid for.
And while McConnell on Tuesday didn't rule out that the bipartisan bill could ultimately get the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate, he also said that Republicans needed more details.
"If that's credibly paid for, as opposed to adding it to the debt, I think there's a way forward on that portion of it," he said. "Maybe we'll get there."