Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., told Newsmax Tuesday that he is concerned about Democrats linking the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that several GOP senators agreed to and another $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill that they could unilaterally push through Congress adding elements taken out of the first bill.
“There's so many variables floating around on this entire discussion, and when it was predicated upfront that $3.5 trillion in soft infrastructure that has nothing to do with infrastructure as we normally define it, was going to go through anyway,” Braun said on “Spicer & Co.” Tuesday, “Pelosi said both bills have to come from the Senate at the same time, that linkage is an issue for many of us.”
Braun said he wants guarantees that the bill the Republicans agreed to will not touch the 2017 tax cuts from the administration of former President Donald Trump, and that the Democrats won’t simply put items removed from the first bill back into the reconciliation bill that can pass through the House and Senate without GOP support.
“What's to keep (Democrats) from putting (removed items) back in? Soft infrastructure bill, they said, well, Sen. (Joe) Manchin, D-W.Va.., and Sen. (Kyrsten) Sinema, D- Ariz., say they won't let that happen,” Braun said. “That gives me a little pause once it gets down to the nitty gritty, and then we as Republicans have our fingerprint on the entirety of it.”
The bipartisan deal, however, is still facing rough waters as both sides rush this week to wrap up negotiations on what the final bill will include.
The agreed upon framework consists of spending money to replace or repair the nation’s roads, bridges, airports, seaports, rail lines, tunnels, and broadband internet service.
Money for the bill would come from repurposing unspent COVID-19 relief funds from the American Rescue Plan and other areas.
In either case, Democrats need all hands-on deck to pass either bill in either chamber, with just a handful of votes in the House and creating a 50-50 tie in the Senate that Vice President Kamala Harris could break in the Democrats favor.
Sinema met with President Joe Biden Tuesday to discuss how to move the legislation forward, as both sides see time running out.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said both bills would be on the floor of the Senate by the end of this month, less than a week away.
But even in the House, some Democrats are expressing discontent with the bipartisan bill.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., called the pending bill “crap.”
At the same time, the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package is moving ahead, which Democrats want to pay for with a tax increase on Americans earning more than $400,000 per year and raising the corporate tax rate.