Washington (CNN)As President Joe Biden makes the case for democracy overseas, his agenda back home is facing major obstacles in Washington, where early progress on several key items has stalled in Congress.
Plodding negotiations and calls to drop bipartisan overtures could imperil — or even unravel — headway on infrastructure, police reform and voting rights. And a raft of revelations about former President Donald Trump’s Justice Department is threatening to draw focus on Capitol Hill elsewhere this week.
Here’s where things stand in Congress:
Infrastructure faces make-or-break moment
The coming days will bring a better sense of where lawmakers stand on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that a bipartisan group of 10 senators announced last week.
While the deal amounted to the most significant development yet in negotiations, the effort is already facing stiff resistance from liberal Senate Democrats eager to abandon bipartisan talks.
“Let’s face it. It’s time to move forward,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, told CNN last week about the talks with the bipartisan group. “The Republicans have held us up long enough.”
While the group didn’t publicly reveal specifics of the agreement, several sources told CNN they crafted a package that includes:
- $1.2 trillion of spending over eight years
- $974 billion spent over the first five years
- The plan calls for $579 billion dollars of new spending.
- The spending will be focused on core, physical infrastructure.
- The plan will be paid for without tax hikes.
- Many of the specific details still need to be ironed out.
“We’re focusing on the traditional infrastructure definition: roads, bridges, airports, seaports, waterways, highways, broadband, and I think that makes sense,” GOP Sen. Susan Collins told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
But many Republicans are wary that the price tag is too high, while many Democrats prefer a much more ambitious and expensive plan that they think will boost the economy, aid the climate and create jobs.
The result is a two-track path for Democrats: Party leaders say they are pursuing Biden’s massive infrastructure and social safety net package along both bipartisan and partisan lanes. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is preparing to begin the budget process next month, setting the stage for advancing a bill along straight party lines, something that can only succeed if all 50 Democrats endorse such a process known as reconciliation.
Where the White House comes down on the plan will matter a lot. While many Democrats expressed concerns that their party’s negotiators were giving up too much in the talks, if the President endorses the plan, it could force many to fall in line.
“The President appreciates the Senators’ work to advance critical investments we need to create good jobs, prepare for our clean energy future, and compete in the global economy,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement last week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for her part, said Sunday she’s “very pleased” that a deal was reached, but she warned the proposal might be a tough sell to the House Democratic Caucus if more isn’t included.
“I do think that it is predicated on an infrastructure that is of the last century. We have to be thinking in a more forward way. We must build back better. So if this is something that can be agreed upon, I don’t know how we can possibly sell it … to our caucus unless we know there is more to come,” she told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
Policing overhaul talks up against the clock
Deliberations over a br
Go To The SourceRead More