The Corner

The Economy

Infrastructure Strategery

Politico has an update on the dealmaking process. There is an interesting dynamic at play.

Some Republicans hope that if they sign on to a deal, they can keep the price tag down. The deal would fund normal “hard” infrastructure such as highways, and would avoid raising taxes. This would leave only the trickier topics — things like clean energy and child care, funded by big tax hikes — for later. Democrats might have trouble cobbling together a unanimous vote in their caucus to pass what’s left of Biden’s plan.

Many Democrats, however, are expecting to pass a bipartisan bill and then pass a partisan one later (through the reconciliation process, which avoids a filibuster). For example, Bob Casey claims “we’re going to have to have an agreement among us that we do both.”

Obviously, Republican cooperation will be pointless if the Democrats proceed to enact through reconciliation everything the GOP rejected in the bipartisan deal. This will give the Democrats points for bipartisanship without forcing any actual compromise.

The man himself, by which of course I mean Joe Manchin, is being coy about where he sees things going after a bipartisan deal. The current bipartisan proposal is for roughly a trillion dollars in infrastructure spending, though only about half of that is new money. Much of the cash is repurposed from unused COVID-relief funds.

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