U.S. politics and policy updates
Sign up for myFT Daily Digest and become the first person to learn about U.S. politics and policy news.
Within minutes of passing a $1 trillion infrastructure package on Tuesday, the U.S. Senate moved on to its next work: a larger budget bill with an estimated price of $3.5 trillion.
But the “dual track” strategy of pursuing a pair of landmark bills creates the possibility that neither will become law.
although Infrastructure package Hailed by President Joe Biden as a model of bipartisan cooperation—19 Senate Republicans voted in favor—the budget plan is far more divided. Not only Republicans oppose it, but Democrats themselves also disagree with the merits of such a huge bill.
After winning the infrastructure project, Senate Democratic leaders hope to pass a budget resolution before the start of the summer recess next week — they can complete this resolution without a Republican vote — although it may be delayed.
The Democratic-controlled Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, has agreed not to accept the infrastructure bill until the Senate passes the budget.
But when the bill reached the House of Representatives, the road became more bumpy.
The Progressive Democrats there insist that without a larger budget resolution, they will not support the infrastructure package, which includes a series of spending plans supported by Alexander Ocasio-Cortez and his left-leaning allies.
But Democrats in the more centrist House of Representatives expressed concern about the size of the budget bill. Once these two pieces of legislation enter the House of Commons, they will increase the likelihood of a civil war — and given the eight-vote majority that Democrats enjoy in the Senate, these two pieces of legislation will increase the likelihood of civil war. Each piece of legislation is likely to be passed. House.
For his part, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he believes the strategy is working. “The dual-track strategy is in full swing,” he said on Tuesday. “The Senate is expected to complete these two tracks-and bring outstanding results to the American people.”
But Biden seems to be much more cautious. He told reporters that more difficult congressional negotiations are still to come. “Let’s make it clear,” he said after voting in the Senate on Tuesday. “The work is far from finished.”
Biden’s pledge did not appease the Republicans, who criticized the Democrats for advancing the party process just minutes after celebrating the victory of the two parties.
“Today, Americans can witness the best and the worst in the U.S. Senate,” said Lisa Murkowski, an Alaskan Republican who often crosses the political aisle.
“The best thing is: the Senate has just passed a historic infrastructure package on a strong bipartisan basis,” she said. “The worst thing is: the Senate immediately turned to a completely partisan bill, a budget resolution that proposed more than $3.5 trillion in new spending, which would lead to tax increases for Americans.”
Even some centrist Democrats questioned this rapid change.Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat who facilitated the infrastructure deal, said she doesn’t support $3.5tn budget Price tag, West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin said over the weekend that he “cannot really guarantee” whether the budget bill will eventually pass the Senate.
but Biden Calling himself an “innate optimist” on Tuesday, he told reporters about the budget plan: “I think we will get enough Democrats to vote for, and I think the House of Representatives will eventually propose two items on my desk. bill.”
These two different methods are by-products of the quirks of Senate rules. Under normal circumstances, without an absolute majority of 60 votes, legislation cannot pass the House, which requires cutting off the debate on the bill. But a process called reconciliation is aimed at getting the budget bill through the Senate faster. With a simple majority, the Democrats can convene in a 50-50 tiebreaker vice presidential vote in the upper house through Kamala Harris.
The budget resolution provides a blueprint for the budget that will spend trillions of dollars on Biden’s broad priorities, including extending universal education to children aged 3 and 4; implementing clean energy tax credits; and expanding U.S. public health insurance for senior citizens System Medicare to provide dental, vision and hearing benefits. These expenditures will be partially offset by higher taxes on American companies and wealthy Americans.
Business interests worry that Pelosi’s insistence on considering both bills at the same time may destroy the bipartisan infrastructure spending agreement they have supported for years.This Business roundtable And other pro-business lobby groups recommend that the House of Representatives-whose members are currently adjourning in the summer-return to consider the infrastructure bill as soon as possible.
But Stanney Hoyer, the second-ranked Democrat in the House of Representatives, said that although the House of Representatives will end its recess on August 23 a few weeks earlier than planned, it will first consider the Senate’s budget resolution.
Rana Foroohar and Edward Luce discuss the biggest theme at the intersection of money and power in American politics every Monday and Friday.Newsletter subscription here