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Biden ignores ‘shiny objects’ and moves closer to bipartisan victory

Showing a little confidence, Biden on Wednesday won a second round of victory in as many months, calling the deal a “blue collar plan to rebuild America” ​​that would be the biggest infrastructure investment in a decade. century. But he also warned that there was “a lot of work to be done to bring this home” and that “there would be disagreements to be resolved” in the near future.

Although heavily involved in the negotiations from the start, the White House has become more active over the past week in pushing the deal forward. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo dined with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) and Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) On Monday evening. And she maintained close contact with Republican negotiators like Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), who called the secretary’s efforts “masterful.” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain has spoken to Schumer on several occasions in recent days and Biden’s main negotiating team – White House Advisor Steve Ricchetti, Director of Legislative Affairs Louisa Terrell and National Economic Council director Brian Deese – spent the weekend in talks with lawmakers.

“[Biden’s] a creature of the Senate and there is something to be said for it, ”said Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “Maybe professional politicians are actually good at politics.”

This week, Ricchetti worked late into the night alongside senior Republican negotiator Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to resolve major issues. And although some Congressional Democrats have warned that too many of their priorities are being sacrificed in the name of bipartisanship, White House officials have not hesitated in public or private during conversations with their party members.

Although most Democrats were reluctant to declare victory – repeating Washington’s oft-used axiom that nothing is “done until it’s done” – they said a bipartisan compromise would help Biden ink futures with Republicans. Buttigieg suggested the deal would demonstrate to Republicans that there are “a lot of benefits” to doing “the hard work” to get a deal like this one.

Democrats also predicted that a final deal would prove electorally useful for the president, as it could both fracture Republicans and deliver on Biden’s campaign promise that he could work with GOP leaders himself. if they promised to kill his program.

“I think the president is demonstrating that he has the ability to make this city work, in part, with his Democratic allies on the Hill, and that’s what our country needs, a functioning government with responsible adults producing real results on important issues, ”said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (DN.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The fact that he has divided the Republican caucus should bring down the curtain on this era when Mitch McConnell kills everything the American people need. The president just broke the Republican caucus. And that’s a huge victory for the White House.

Biden has yet to hold the entire Democratic coalition together when the bipartisan deal is finally passed. He will also need to reassure progressives and Democratic lawmakers who have felt left out of Senate negotiations that their priorities will be addressed in the $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which is expected to be considered shortly.

To Democrats appalled at Biden’s love affair with bipartisanship that threatens to withhold votes, especially in the House, Buttigieg’s message was to look at the scale of what has been achieved. Fundraising investing is “at the historical level that really defines the eras” and it “represents a big change in this country from a model of underinvestment and divestment.”

But Biden’s own advisers conceded that the president should focus on the sprawling spending plan Democrats are pushing through without Republicans’ help.

“It’s definitely a big deal to get the BIF. It shows this president’s commitment given that no one thought it could be done,” said John Anzalone, another top Biden pollster and adviser to long time. ”But he also knows that people are still in pain and that working families need help to reduce the costs of child and elder care, job training and other important things that will give them more opportunities in the economic recovery. “

The infrastructure framework announced on Wednesday would provide nearly $ 600 billion in new funding for roads, broadband, mass transit, electric vehicle chargers, water infrastructure and more. While there is no legislation yet, an overview provided by the White House indicates that a mix of remaining emergency relief funds, the application of the cryptocurrency tax and others provisions will fund the agreement. The deal won’t raise taxes for anyone earning less than $ 400,000 – a red line for Biden from the start. But some lawmakers are still waiting to see the hard calculations, wondering how the mentioned initiatives will pay for the whole package.

While much of the action around the deal occurred in conversations between senators and senior White House officials, administration officials said the president was intimately involved. Biden was briefed several times a day and led the strategy as he held calls with lawmakers. The senior White House team met daily to synchronize on the bipartisan agreement and then briefed Cabinet secretaries – known as Cabinet Jobs – who were responsible for wooing senators to support the infrastructure framework.

Biden’s ability to maintain Republican support for a deal with him is a sign that Congress could finally work as planned, said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Who was optimistic the bipartisan deal would reach office Of the president.

“Not only are Senator Schumer and Joe Biden in a position to come up with a bipartisan compromise, but we are also opening the floor to votes,” Murphy said, predicting amendment votes could be allowed on the narrow infrastructure package. “There are 30% on either side who will never support compromise, but the people who were unhappy with democracy – and a lot of people who are on Donald Trump’s side – are people who want bipartisanship and don’t never seen this happen. “

If it is ultimately passed, White House officials and their close allies say they believe both the contents of the bipartisan infrastructure plan and the process by which it went through Congress will prove popular with the government. public. They don’t plan to overcomplicate the message around it.

“For the first time, the process is also very popular – that it is Democrats and Republicans coming together,” said Celinda Lake, pollster on Biden’s presidential campaign.

“Normally voters don’t give a damn about the process, but they’re really doing it here,” Lake added. “It’s a central theme for Biden and one of his main strengths because people think Biden is much more committed to bipartisanship and working together than either party.”

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