(CNN)It’s impossible to overstate the stakes of this week’s legislative horse-trading for the remainder of Joe Biden’s presidency. In fact, what happens this week on Capitol Hill will almost certainly make or break Biden’s entire first-term legislative agenda — and determine the case he and his party can take to voters in the 2022 midterms and beyond.
First, let’s set the scene.
There are two pieces of legislation moving through Congress — both chambers of which are controlled by Democrats — at the moment.
1. The bipartisan Infrastructure bill: This $1.2 trillion legislation, which is focused on so-called “hard” infrastructure like roads, bridges and the like — has already passed the Senate, with 19 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats to support it. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has previously promised Democratic moderates that she will bring the measure up in the House on September 27 (next Monday) and they are aggressively working to hold her to that promise. Meanwhile, liberals in the House have balked at voting for the hard infrastructure bill unless and until they have a vote on a much broader package of government spending — upwards of $3.5 trillion — that the party plans to attempt to pass on a purely partisan basis. Which brings me to…
2. The budget bill: Liberals in the House — like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Pramila Jayapal of Washington — don’t want to vote for the infrastructure bill unless and until they can ensure passage of the much-larger budget bill, which effectively crams all of Biden’s first-term priorities on everything from climate to jobs to immigration and back into a single measure. The problem? Democrats in the Senate don’t have the 50 votes they need to pass anything close to a $3.5 trillion package. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (of Arizona) and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have made clear they will not vote for a measure with that high a price tag, with Manchin suggestin
Analysis: If Biden fails this week, his domestic agenda is done for 15 months
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