Mitch McConnell must smell blood in the water. Having previously seemed accepting of Democrats' two-track infrastructure strategy, the Senate minority leader now appears to be playing a different game — one in which "he's trying to drive a wedge between [President Biden] and congressional Democratic leaders," Politico writes.
Last week Biden threw the bipartisan infrastructure deal he had just helped negotiate into chaos when he threatened to veto it if unaccompanied by Democrats' more sweeping reconciliation bill. On Saturday, the White House tried to do damage control, issuing a statement walking back his threat, which only seemed to anger progressives and confuse everyone else.
Amidst this chaos McConnell struck, calling on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday to ensure the passage of the bipartisan deal and reconciliation bill were no longer linked.
"Unless Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi walk-back their threats that they will refuse to send the president a bipartisan infrastructure bill" if "trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism" are not also passed, "then President Biden's walk-back of his veto threat would be a hollow gesture," said McConnell.
Democratic lawmakers seem irked by the move. They told Politico the Republican master tactician, who claims he's "100 percent focusing on stifling Biden's agenda" and "undecided" on the bipartisan deal itself, is merely attempting to delay the bigger bill and force "infighting" among the party. Pelosi maintains she will not consider a bipartisan infrastructure deal until the Senate clears a larger spending package.
Regardless, McConnell's position still affords "major sway" over the GOP votes needed to pass a bipartisan deal, Politico notes.
Read more at Politico.