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Biden hails jobs growth and promises more if Congress approves infrastructure plans

Eli Stokols, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

"We want to get it right. So it's not too much to ask that we have the time to do that," Portman said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Biden, who will make his case Wednesday during a prime-time CNN town hall in Cincinnati, reminded his Republican negotiating partners that they'd already agreed to the broad, nearly $1-trillion framework — "We shook hands," he repeated twice — implying that it would be their fault if the agreement fell apart.

Just as he and Schumer seek to hold together the fragile bipartisan coalition, they are also working for all 50 Democratic senators to support a second, larger bill of up to $3.5 trillion in subsidies, tax breaks and other benefits aimed at working families. Schumer is also seeking to fast-track that proposal.

The two-track approach, an attempt to notch a bipartisan achievement and simultaneously deliver on a laundry list of Democratic priorities, is fraught with political peril.

Several moderate Democrats have yet to say whether they'll support the spending that most of their colleagues want. Every Senate Democrat must do so to pass the larger social-spending bill through a budget procedure known as reconciliation, which requires only 50 votes and thus allows the party to circumvent a Republican filibuster.

 

Some Republican senators have suggested that they would oppose the bipartisan infrastructure package if Democrats forced the other bill through the Senate.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of the 10 Republicans who has tentatively supported the bipartisan effort, suggested Sunday that Republicans could flee the Capitol to block a Senate vote on the larger Democratic bill — 51 lawmakers are required in the Senate to conduct business. In so doing, they'd be borrowing a tactic from Texas Democrats — members of the state Legislature — who fled Austin last week to block a vote on the Republican majority's restrictive voting bill.

Graham said on Fox News, "To my Republican colleagues, we may learn something from our Democratic friends in Texas when it comes to avoiding a $3.5-trillion tax and spend package: Leave town."

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