The Sausage Making: Some Dems Champing At The Bit For Legislative Win Before Worrisome Virginia Election

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 10: U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) heads to the floor of the Senate on August 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
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October 14, 2021 6:02 p.m.

While Congress is in recess this week, we’ll be watching negotiations on the infrastructure bill and presenting them to you in an evening briefing. Check in here to find out how the sausage-making is shaping up. 

Some Democrats are freaking out about the Virginia gubernatorial election on November 2, with early voting already underway. Polls show the race to be very tight — much tighter than President Joe Biden’s 10-point win in the commonwealth in 2020 — and Democrats are sending in the big guns, including former President Barack Obama. They are seriously worried that this will be a bellwether race, with an upset perhaps indicative of a midterm drubbing to come.

Some are calling for a pre-election day legislative victory to burnish the Democratic brand. 

“We’re 19 days away from an election in Virginia,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said today on CNN. “The President’s got a huge win sitting out there on a once in 50-years infrastructure plan. Let’s make it the law of the land.”

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Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), the Democratic candidate, has been saying the same. 

Warner’s defection from the two-track infrastructure plan may worry his colleagues who see the connection as critical to reconciliation’s survival — he has been operating as a trusted go-between for the moderate and progressive wings of the party.

The Daily Sinema Flummox 

  • Up to her usual hijinks, Sinema is giving Democrats plenty to steam about. 
  • She reportedly declared that she won’t vote for reconciliation without a vote first on the bipartisan deal. There are probably procedural ways to split this baby, but add her to the Virginia delegation that’s currently threatening the dual-track plan.
  • While most lawmakers fundraise in their home states or districts during recess, Sinema has opted to seek out donor dollars in … Europe!
  • In a new poll from the left-leaning Data for Progress, Sinema clocked in with an awful 70 percent job disapproval from likely Democratic primary voters in Arizona.

Progressives Continue To Speak Up 

  • The House progressive caucus sent House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) a letter last night outlining their priorities for reconciliation. 
  • Key quote: “If given a choice between legislating narrowly or broadly, we strongly encourage you to choose the latter, and make robust investments over a shorter window.”

The ‘Lawmakers Using Social Media’ Corner 

  • A big complaint from Democratic lawmakers (usually directed at us reporters) is that people don’t know what’s in the reconciliation package. That is, of course, complicated by the fact that we’ve got no clue which programs will survive the whittling down. Still, lawmakers are trying to spread the preemptive word. 
  • Model A — sober, serious, straight to the point:
  • Model B — whatever this is!

(Just joshin’ — nothing but love for my fellow Keystone Stater!)

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