In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Joe Lieberman appeals to President Biden and, implicitly, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to “save the infrastructure bill”:
I worked closely with Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for decades. They’re both great people and skilled legislative tacticians, and they apparently think this strategy is the only way to hold their fragile majorities together and give all Democrats at least some of what they want.
I hope they rethink their strategy. President Biden has agreed to an infrastructure proposal with a bipartisan Senate group and the House Problem Solvers Caucus. Linking it to a separate multitrillion-dollar partisan reconciliation bill would likely end with passage of neither. The American people wouldn’t soon forgive this failure, and they’d blame Mr. Biden and Democrats because we’re in the majority.
That risk became clearer last week when Mr. Biden went to Wisconsin to advocate for the bipartisan agreement, which would be the largest federal infrastructure investment since the creation of the Interstate Highway System 65 years ago. The president said the plan would create millions of good jobs and ensure America can compete with China. It would replace 100% of the lead water pipes that go into 10 million homes and 400,000 school across America, repair roads and bridges, upgrade the power grid, close the digital divide, make U.S. coastlines more resilient against climate change, and entail the largest investment in public transit in American history.
In other words, the president’s essential message in Wisconsin was that this is a historic plan every American should be very excited about, while the message from Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer in Washington is that we can’t have this infrastructure plan until Congress is done debating and voting for a separate, controversial, costly bill that may or may not pass months from now.
If it all falls apart, Americans will be fuming and they would be justified in their anger. They won’t understand or accept why leaders in Washington couldn’t say yes to a deal protecting their kids from lead-tainted water, making bridges and highways safer, improving mass transit, growing the economy and creating jobs.
In the first paragraph cited Sen. Lieberman makes the essential observation. The Speaker and Senate Majority Leader are struggling to keep their own caucuses in line. The concern is well-founded. I have heard multiple pledges from various members of the House to vote against the bill unless it includes their pet cause. Some of these causes are “poison pills”, all but guaranteed to ensure no Republican support.
I suspect the question will be one of choosing between party unity and bipartisan agreement. Don’t be surprised if party unity wins the tug o’ war.
“They won’t understand or accept why leaders in Washington couldn’t say yes to a deal protecting their kids from lead-tainted water, making bridges and highways safer, improving mass transit, growing the economy and creating jobs.”
Let’s all become 12 years old again and stipulate this was the bill’s intent. Then the question becomes why did Joe bait and switch the deal, rendering it unpassable? Is he a) mostly incoherent these days, b) a puppet of progressives, c) a weak and incompetent leader or d) an idiot.
Let’s give him the benefit that he’s more “a” than “d” (he’s clearly impaired, but perhaps not a slobbering invalid as some portray him). Time to leave the 12 year old’s world and grow up. “a” through “c.”
I’ve watched for many years as Pelosi and Schumer, especially Pelosi, got their people in lock step and I don’t believe for a second they can’t now. Pelosi is a woman who made excuses for Omar’s antisemitism instead of bring the hammer. She’s not flummoxed in the least. She may want to appear that way. But she’s not.