WASHINGTON — Infrastructure talks are at an excruciating standstill in Congress as Democrats are now starting to feel the pressure in trying to not only come to a deal with Republicans on the matter but also with some members of their own party.
It’s been revealed that during talks earlier this week that negotiating Democrats came back to the table with Republicans with a counter-offer on a bipartisan deal, which many GOP members say reopened issues that they believed had already been settled.
The offer was turned down by Republicans. The gesture has now sparked some wariness among moderate Democrats who are said to be less inclined to go along with a subsequent $3.5 trillion bill if the bipartisan deal fails.
“It has stumbled along the way,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), who sits on the Senate Budget Committee. “We had a deal and now you just hurt it. I think Republicans are in a spot where we hold the cards here.”
Braun told Fox Business that the counter-offer by Democrats was a “risky” political move. Now, he said with mid-term elections coming up next year the pressure is on for Democrats to figure things out on their end in order to get a deal done, and a deal that moderate Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Manchin, will go along with.
“They’re up against the gun because they are running out of time,” Braun said. “We’re here 36 weeks a year, and maybe three, three and a half days out of each week, and they have frittered away a log of time.”
He added that Democrats’ insistence on keeping the $3.5 trillion bill in the background of talks on the bipartisan deal hurts the discussion on the bipartisan bill. Some moderate Democrats have said that if the bipartisan bill fails they may have a hard time supporting the $3.5 trillion bill.
In order to advance that bill through the Senate with budget reconciliation, every Democrat would need to be on board in the Senate along with Vice-President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.