Republicans are planning to block the vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman shares the details.
– Well, the bipartisan infrastructure bill looking to get its first test in the Senate this afternoon. Lawmakers we’re looking to move ahead with a procedural vote this afternoon. But could Senate Republicans potentially be looking to stall the vote? Let’s bring in Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman. And Rick, I guess, that’s sort of what the Democrats have alleged, right? To say that, well, Republicans are saying, well, they want a little more time to write the bill. Democrats are saying they’re trying to stall and derail all this. What’s actually happening?
RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, there’s a lot of posturing going on. To figure out what’s really going on, this is not even a vote on an actual bill. The so-called bipartisan bill doesn’t exist yet. So this is a vote on procedures. And this is basically to determine whether it will be possible to vote on a bipartisan bill which requires 60 votes, in other words, at least 10 Republicans joining 50 Democrats, to pass, to overcome the filibuster, or if this thing just falls apart, the bipartisan thing just falls apart. And if it does, Democrats would then move forward and just do their own bill. But that would be five to seven times larger than the bipartisan bill.
One way or another here, we’re probably going to get this infrastructure spending. The question is whether we get it in two bills, one a smallish bipartisan one and then a much larger Democratic one to follow that, or if Democrats just lump it all into one gargantuan bill that would just pass with Democratic votes and then have to go through the so-called reconciliation process.
Again, what’s happening this week is a lot of posturing that’s basically going to determine how this gets done in coming weeks and months.
– I mean, I guess that begs the question, Rick, what was that photo op over at the White House when we had Republican and Democratic lawmakers meeting with the president. I mean, ultimately, where does the president stand? You sort of broke it down into where the lawmakers want this infrastructure bill to ultimately go. But what is he likely to sign off on?
RICK NEWMAN: I think Biden is actually in a pretty good spot. He wants voters to think that he favors bipartisanship and that he is able to work with Republicans. That is a big part of how he ran that helped him get some centrist and independent votes that put him over the top last November. But if that doesn’t happen, Biden is still likely to get a lot of what he wants through this Democratic-only bill.
The question is, do these senators actually care about bipartisanship or do they only care about making voters think they care about bipartisanship? And it’s probably a mix of both. There are still a few members of Congress who want their voters to think yes, they can do bipartisan things and make deals, but for the most part, that is not what’s going to happen here.
– And meanwhile you’ve got infrastructure investments sort of on hold, right? So we’ll continue to watch.
RICK NEWMAN: The investment is probably going to come. Because, I mean, for Democrats, it’s almost as if they need to go through this bipartisan exercise almost as just cover, so that if it doesn’t happen, which I think is the most likely, I think it is more likely we will not get a bipartisan bill than we will, then Democrats can say, “We tried.”
And they do need to bring on board those moderates we keep talking about, Joe Manchin from West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona. Senators like those, there are a few of those, they need to be able to go back home and say, “We tried to get a bipartisan bill and we just couldn’t get Republicans to go along with it.” So once they have done that, that sort of provides the top cover for Democrats to lump everything into a very large infrastructure bill.
– We’ll continue to follow all the back and forth. Rick Newman giving us the state of play. Thanks so much.