On The Money: Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds | Trump tells Republicans to walk away | GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden

On The Money: Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds | Trump tells Republicans to walk away | GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden
© Greg Nash

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THE BIG DEAL—Senate infrastructure talks on shaky grounds: A bipartisan Senate infrastructure group is struggling to break an entrenched stalemate over the final details of their $1.2 trillion proposal, sparking an increasingly public blame game between Democrats and Republicans.

The bipartisan group had hoped to return to Washington on Monday with a final agreement in order to quickly start debate on the Senate floor. Instead, the talks appear to be on shaky grounds, with each side accusing the other of moving the goalposts.

Where things stand now: Now the group appears nearly certain to miss that goal amid rising tensions and fresh questions about if the talks could collapse altogether. And the sticking points are piling up.

Portman pointed to transit as the main unresolved issue, but sources cited a laundry list of other unresolved points of contention, including money for broadband, highways and bridges, using unspent COVID-19 relief funds to help pay for the bipartisan deal and Republicans wanting to waive federally mandated wage requirements for federally funded projects. 

In other words... most of the potential bill. The Hill’s Jordain Carney breaks it down here.

Read more on the push for a bipartisan deal: 

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LEADING THE DAY

GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden: Senate Republicans plan to demand big spending reforms in exchange for their support of legislation to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

Republicans are seeking leverage to rein in President BidenJoe BidenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks GOP Rep. Cawthorn likens vaccine mandates to 'modern-day segregation' MORE’s plans to pump trillions of dollars into the economy and have found it in the full faith and credit of the United States.

GOP senators are reviving demands they made in 2011, the last time there was a political standoff over raising the debt limit, but it’s a risky move.

  • The 2011 debt limit was solved at the last moment, and a subsequent downgrading of the nation’s creditworthiness by S&P triggered a stock market meltdown.
  • And if the U.S. actually defaults on its debt, which could happen within months, the consequences could be catastrophic.

The dynamic: If Republicans can get spending reforms attached to the debt limit increase, they want to force Democrats to jam debt limit legislation in a budget reconciliation bill that is expected to pass without any GOP support. They don’t want to vote for anything that could give them some shared responsibility for the nation’s $29 trillion debt.

But Democrats, who are falling behind schedule on their two-track strategy for passing infrastructure legislation, will have a hard time wrapping up work on a reconciliation package by October. The Hill’s Alexander Bolton has more here.

 

US to maintain travel restrictions due to delta variant: The United States will keep current international travel restrictions in place for the time being due to the delta variant and rising coronavirus cases domestically, the White House said Monday.

“We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons. The more transmissible delta variant is spreading both here and around the world,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiReporters lodge complaint with White House over Biden-Johnson meeting access White House faces increased cries from allies on Haitian migrants Harris 'deeply troubled' by treatment of Haitian migrants MORE told reporters Monday.

“Driven by the delta variant, cases are rising here at home particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue in the weeks ahead,” she said.

The background:  While European nations have relaxed restrictions on U.S. travelers who are vaccinated, the U.S. has thus far resisted lifting restrictions on travel from other countries.

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security said it would extend the closure of the land borders with Canada and Mexico until at least Aug. 21. Canada’s government plans to open the border to fully vaccinated Americans beginning Aug. 9.

The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant has more here.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW:

  • The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on the implementation and enforcement of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at 9:30 a.m.
  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on central bank digital currencies at 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on cryptocurrencies at 10 a.m.
  • A Senate Banking subcommittee holds a hearing on student loan borrowers and federal pandemic repayment protections at 3 p.m.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

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  • Sales of new single-family homes fell in June to the lowest level since April 2020, the Commerce Department said Monday.
  • Republicans waging war against President Biden's proposed tax increases are increasingly focusing their opposition on one floated change to capital gains.
  • President Biden’s nomination of Jonathan Kanter to head the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust division completes an unexpected sweep of picks backed by the progressive movement to break up the country’s biggest tech companies.

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • The progressive group Tax March announced Monday that it's launching a $2 million ad campaign that urges Congress to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and large corporations.