We seem to be moving toward a framework in which a relatively small ‘hard’ infrastructure bill is passed through the Senate with Republican support. Then most of the rest of Biden’s two part infrastructure package (The American Jobs Plan and the American Family Plan) will be passed through a reconciliation bill which will get no Republican support and pass the Senate with 50 votes. There’s a lot of downside to that – not least of which is that it allows Republicans to take credit for the most popular stuff and creating a second bill with a lot of social spending and a lot of new taxes.
The key worry is that Senate moderates like Manchin and Sinema will take the bipartisan mini-infrastructure bill and then fold on the reconciliation part of the equation. So Nancy Pelosi is making clear that she won’t move either through the House until they both pass the Senate.
In the background this linkage has been a key part of the equation. While you have a group of moderate Democrats looking for their bipartisan deal, the rest of the caucus has essentially said, “Fine, we’ll do that. But only if you’ll commit to being there on the rest of the plan as part of a reconciliation bill. Pelosi is now making clear they don’t have to make this decision in the Senate. If it’s a two part strategy, nothing passes unless both bills pass the Senate first.