Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
(D-NY) has warned that lawmakers may have to cut short their annual summer recess in order to pass two bills aimed at overhauling the nation's infrastructure
“Senators should be prepared to work
long nights, weekends, and remain in Washington
into the previously scheduled August state work period,” he wrote to his colleagues in a letter on Friday.
Schumer reiterated his intention to pass both the bipartisan infrastructure framework agreed to by President Joe Biden
and a group of Republican senators last month, as well as a separate package containing additional Democratic
provisions “on climate change
, health care
, and the caring economy
are sharpening their demands for additional investments to combat climate change, while Republicans
plot to exploit those divisions to derail passage of Biden's American Families Plan
, which focuses on bolstering "human" infrastructure.
Many Democrats have stated that they will only support the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal
, which invests in narrowly defined projects such as roads, bridges, and waterways, if Congress
also passes legislation that includes additional progressive priorities such as child care
, elder care, and green energy
Democratic moderates in the Senate, on the other hand, have expressed concern about a large follow-up infrastructure bill that is not funded.
“I want to make sure we pay for it; I don’t want to add more debt, so if that’s 1 trillion, 1.5 trillion, or 2 trillion over a 10-year period, that’s what I would vote for,” Sen. Joe Manchin
(D-WVa.) told ABC
Passing the second package will almost certainly necessitate all 50 Democratic votes
in the Senate through a special budget
process known as reconciliation, which Democrats used to pass the American Rescue Plan
unilaterally earlier this year. This will be a difficult task for a caucus that includes both moderates like Manchin and progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders
In addition to the intraparty debate over what kind of funding should be included in the second infrastructure package, Democrats have differing views on how and whether they should pay for it, and those decisions have yet to be made, presenting another minefield for the party as members rush to pass an infrastructure overhaul this year.
For example, Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to pay for infrastructure investments. Democratic moderates support a corporate tax rate increase, but not as large as the president has proposed. Meanwhile, a group of House Democrats
is pushing their own demands: they want to repeal the cap on federal deductions for state and local taxes
imposed by the GOP
's 2017 tax cut.
All of the questions about what the reconciliation package will look like could get messy, but they must be resolved quickly if Democrats want to pass their infrastructure overhaul by the end of the year.