President Joe Biden may come under pressure on Monday to show his declared interest in working with Republicans in Congress when lawmakers return from their spring break to discuss a $ 2.3 trillion bill. dollars to improve America’s infrastructure.
The Democratic president appears to be losing political capital to a group of Republican senators, including Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, who may represent his best option to pass a law that receives support from both parties.
Biden’s party has narrow majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate, which means that it cannot afford to lose Democratic votes. That has encouraged and empowered moderate Democrats, like Sen. Joe Manchin, who have undue influence over the fate of Biden’s ambitious legislative priorities, including the infrastructure package, gun control and others.
Biden, who previously served as a senator for 36 years, has repeated since taking office in January that he is interested in collaborating with Republicans. He is expected to host Republicans and Democrats from both houses of Congress at the White House on Monday to discuss a way forward with the infrastructure plan.
“Even before the announcement of the US Employment Plan, the president himself and senior White House officials briefed Republican lawmakers on the proposal,” said a White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He is excited to remain in close contact with both parties about this historic investment in the backbone of the country.”
But a growing number of Republicans accuse Biden of having no sincere interest in working with them, claiming his proposals have been little more than a showcase for an autonomous Democratic strategy. Biden won congressional passage of a major COVID-19 relief bill without Republican support.
“Sadly, the President has misled the public at every step of every major piece of legislation he has sent to Congress. The COVID project was not about COVID. This infrastructure project is not about infrastructure,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, who will play a key role in the infrastructure battle.
Biden can also expect a skeptical position from the group of 10 Republican senators who met with him in February to discuss the COVID-19 relief bill, only to have his calls to reduce the size of the package ignored.
Subsequently, Democrats used a procedure in Congress that allowed them to pass the $ 1.9 trillion bill without Republican support.
The White House official stressed that the COVID-19 bill was a response to a strong national crisis, adding that negotiations on the employment and infrastructure plan would be a more deliberative process.
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