rally the troops
House Republican leadership is not sitting out the chamber's eventual vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. On the contrary, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) have launched a "pretty intense" campaign to make sure most of the GOP caucus opposes the bill, CNN reports.
Their pitch? A source familiar with the whip operation told CNN they're framing the infrastructure bill as a "gateway drug" to the larger $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that Democrats are also aiming to pass. Republicans are pretty much universally opposed to that measure.
At the moment, it doesn't sound like McCarthy and Scalise will bring everyone over to their side — the expectation is that there will be somewhere between a dozen and 20 GOP votes in favor of the bill, CNN notes — but they'll likely be successful enough in their endeavor that the amount of aisle crossers won't make up for potential defections from progressive Democrats, who maintain they won't support the infrastructure package until the reconciliation bill is ready.
McCarthy's strategy reportedly isn't sitting well among Republican senators who helped craft and back the infrastructure bill, however. One House Republican told CNN that members of that group are "furious," and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said he would have liked to have seen the GOP leaders in the lower chamber "remain neutral," adding that the infrastructure bill is "very different" from its reconciliation counterpart, despite the close association. Read more at CNN.