On The Money: McConnell vows 'hell of a fight' over Biden infrastructure plan | Democrats raise concerns with bipartisan bill

On The Money: McConnell vows 'hell of a fight' over Biden infrastructure plan | Democrats raise concerns with bipartisan bill
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THE BIG DEAL—McConnell vows 'hell of a fight' over Biden infrastructure plan: Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome Pelosi vows to avert government shutdown McConnell calls Trump a 'fading brand' in Woodward-Costa book MORE (Ky.) vowed Tuesday that Republicans would wage a "hell of a fight" over attempts by Democrats to pass a sweeping multi-trillion 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 BidenTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe House passes sweeping defense policy bill MORE's jobs and families plan.

“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 of the spending package.

“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 continued. The Hill’s Jordain Carney brings us up to speed here.

What comes next: There’s no universe in which a single Republican backs a massive Democrats-only bill to be passed through reconciliation. But the GOP can still make it harder for Democrats to pass it through various ways of jamming up the Senate floor at a crucial time.

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It’s going to take quite a bit of time to put both bills together and pass them, especially if progressives are refusing to support the bipartisan deal without a guarantee that the Democratic-only bill will pass too.  And now the bipartisan infrastructure deal endorsed by President Biden is facing fresh skepticism from key Senate Democrats who are concerned about plans to pay for the $973 billion package.

  • Two major financing mechanisms for the spending proposal — repurposing unspent funds for unemployment benefits and for state assistance — are meeting resistance from a group of Democratic senators.
  • They say higher corporate tax rates should be the primary revenue source.

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton has more here.

Read more about infrastructure talks: 

  • Exclusive: Democrat García will not back reconciliation without immigration
  • The Problem Solvers Caucus of House moderates on Tuesday backed the infrastructure framework that President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators announced last month, and urged the House to hold a stand-alone vote on legislation based on the deal.

LEADING THE DAY

White House deflects GOP blame for rising gas prices: The White House on Tuesday deflected blame on rising gas prices across the U.S. as Republicans attempt to pin higher prices at the pump on President Biden.

“I think there sometimes is a misunderstanding of what causes gas prices to increase and so, to convey to the American people that we’re working on it and certainly the supply availability of oil has a huge impact,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden administration defends handling of Haitians amid uproar Sean Spicer, Russ Vought sue Biden over Naval Board removal 'Quad' summit is a chance to clarify our Indo-Pacific agenda MORE said during her Tuesday briefing.

The background: 

  • The national gas price average is up 40 percent since the start of the year as of Tuesday, according to AAA. 
  • Gas prices are expected to increase another 10 to 20 cents per gallon through August, which would make the national average price over $3.25. 

Republicans have seized on rising gas prices — a political problem for any president — as proof that Biden’s agenda is causing inflation. The reality, however, is much more complicated.

Gas prices tend to rise during the summer as Americans hit the road for summer travel, but experts say they are rising at a faster rate for a few reasons much bigger than the March stimulus bill.

  • Gas prices are still rebounding from depths they reached during the pandemic, when a sharp drop in travel meant a steep decline in demand for oil.
  • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) also failed to reach a deal to increase oil supply to meet surging demand, keeping upward pressure on prices.

“Robust gasoline demand and more expensive crude oil prices are pushing gas prices higher,” said Jeanette McGee, a AAA spokesperson. “We had hoped that global crude production increases would bring some relief at the pump this month, but weekend OPEC negotiations fell through with no agreement reached. As a result, crude prices are set to surge to a seven year-high.”

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Five things to know about the Trump Organization indictment
  • Hackers believed to be responsible for a massive worldwide ransomware plot demanded $70 million on Sunday in exchange for the data they are holding hostage.
  • NPR: “Beware of ‘Shrinkflation,’ Inflation’s Devious Cousin”

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Tech giants including Facebook, Google and Twitter have reportedly issued a warning to Hong Kong's government that their services may be cut off in the city if authorities proceed with data protection laws that would make the companies liable if individuals' personally identifiable information is released without their consent.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has appealed a federal judge's order that downgraded the agency's COVID-19 regulations on cruise ships to recommendations and effectively allowed the industry to restart in Florida.