(PatriotWise.com)- Senate Democrats are apparently prepared to take a different approach to the massive and controversial infrastructure plan.
On Wednesday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will advance both the Democrat-only version of the bill along with the bipartisan plan that was agreed on recently.
Speaking to reporters with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he said it was necessary to move both the smaller bipartisan bill as well as the huge Democrat-only bill at the same time, saying they are linked.
“One can’t be done without the other … We can’t get the bipartisan bill done unless we’re sure of getting the budget reconciliation bill done. We can’t get the budget reconciliation bill done unless we’re sure to get the bipartisan — and I think our members, across the spectrum, realize that.”
Earlier Wednesday, a group of senators from both sides of the aisle said they had come to an agreement on a “framework” for a bill with negotiators from the White House. Biden still needs to sign off on the bill, but that could happen sometime this week.
The agreement would spend either $974 billion over the next five years, or $1.2 trillion over the next eight years.
Despite the bipartisan nature of this bill, and the fact that Biden appears ready to sign off on it, neither of the Democratic leaders of the two chambers of Congress endorsed the bill. Instead, Pelosi took a roundabout approach to supporting it, saying:
“We’re very excited about the prospect of a bipartisan agreement that takes us to whatever else we want to do.”
In other words, they’re willing to let this bill go through, because they still plan to use budget reconciliation to push through the massive infrastructure bill without support of any Republican senators.
Their next step seems to be pushing through two separate plans that could be joined into one — a $2.3 trillion plan for jobs and a $1.8 trillion plan for families, as they’ve been dubbed by Biden.
It’s what’s being called a “two-track approach” to approving a package for infrastructure “and the importance of a budget resolution to meeting the full range of the president’s priorities,” according to a White House readout of the Wednesday meeting.
The Democratic leaders are steadfast in their approach to the infrastructure bill, even as not all members of their own party have committed to supporting it. Moderate West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, for example, hasn’t fully committed to voting in favor of the larger bill just yet.
And Democrats would need all 50 members of their party in the Senate to approve the bill if they want to pass it using budget reconciliation. It’s unlikely that any Republicans will back the measure.
Schumer, though, said he would still press ahead with both the smaller bipartisan bill and the larger one in July. He said:
“Both tracks, the bipartisan track and the budget reconciliation track, are proceeding apace. And we hope to have voted on both of them … in July.”