Wednesday, October 20, 2021

The White House is racing against the clock to save the infrastructure bill from doom

Yamiche Alcindor:

Well, there’s a strong sense of urgency in the White House tonight, as President Biden tries to unify Democrats between these two big infrastructure bills, $1 trillion in the form of a bipartisan bill, and then, of course, , the $3.5 trillion bill that is Democrat-backed right now, even though not all Democrats are on the same page.

The president was supposed to talk about the vaccine mandate in Chicago today, talking about companies that have adopted the vaccine mandate, but, instead, he postponed that visit, indicating that he should talk to lawmakers. Need to be here to do it.

In the last hour, he was speaking to both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. And in those meetings with lawmakers including Senator Cinema and Senator Manchin, I’ve been told that the president is really doing two things.

He, one, is explaining to senators and lawmakers, what is my legacy here. What is my agenda here? Here are my wishes for the American people. The other thing he’s doing is saying, What can I do to try to make you yes? What can I do to try to get you on board with this plan to pass these two big bills at once?

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Then come the White House staff. Now, they were meeting with Senator Cinema on the Hill today. And some of the White House staffers are White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein as well as top aides Steve Richetti, Brian Deez, Louisa Terrell.

These are names that may not be familiar to people, but they are actually the brains behind all of its effort to actually get the White House and lawmakers on the same page.

I’m also told that Senator Cinema looks like he’s a senator who is more likely to say yes, even if that $3.5 trillion package, it could be $2.5 trillion or even less than $2 trillion.

I am also told that Senator Manchin is the one that sells the most here. And at the last hour, Senator Manchin made a statement that didn’t seem like he was getting any closer to that reconciliation bill, supporting it.

He spent, in part, trillions of dollars in what is, in his words, the quote – “fiscal madness.” He also wrote that Democrats should – quote – “not vindictively tax the rich.”

This, of course, is the exact opposite of what progressives are saying, so it has a lot to do with the president at the center.

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