Here’s another key question a lot of people are trying to figure out.
If Joe Biden gets most of his infrastructure agenda passed through combination of a mini-hard infrastructure bipartisan deal and the bulk of it through a 50 vote reconciliation bill that will be a big win on policy and politically.
So why did this deal – even if it falls apart – get to the White House press event level? Why did Mitch McConnell allow that to happen?
Biden and the Democratic caucuses were crystal clear that the price of signing on to this bipartisan deal was moderate Dems being there for a reconciliation bill that had at least the bulk the rest of the proposals if nothing everything Biden originally proposed. This wasn’t a secret. It was broadcast in advance and, critically, it doesn’t involve Republicans. It’s purely an understanding among Democrats and about how Democrats will vote.
Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham are clearly already trying to wriggle out of the deal claiming it’s some big double cross. And there’s a good chance they will wriggle out of it. But what will that have accomplished for them? Or to put the question squarely, why did McConnell let it go this far?
There’s no really clear answer to that question. Certainly McConnell can blow up the deal now and get Fox to message that it’s the ultimate double-cross. But Biden’s main goals here is demonstrating he can get bipartisan deals and even more importantly bringing his foot-draggers in the Senate along for his package. He got those things. If Republicans blow up the agreement now, that’s at best a wash for Republicans and it still puts Biden in a better position than he was on both those fronts.
So why did McConnell let it go this far? There’s not a really clear answer.