Biden's infastructure deal proves bipartisanship can't deliver

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For a moment last week, President Joe Biden’s vision of a dealmaking, bipartisan Senate that gets big things done for the American people looked like it could soon become reality. With Biden’s announcement that Democrats and Republicans “have a deal” on infrastructure, it seemed both sides in Washington, DC, were on the verge of coming together to pass a large bill — one that would not only help rebuild America’s roads and bridges but also, potentially, move to tackle climate change, expand access to broadband internet, and remove lead from drinking water.

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Last week’s news was about a $1 trillion deal that some Senate Democrats and Republicans are working to get through the 60-vote threshold required overcome the filibuster. But, as Biden has said, Democrats are also working on another measure, ranging anywhere from $2 trillion to $6 trillion, that could pass Congress with only Democratic support by using the reconciliation process. Biden is promising and working toward bipartisanship but already planning to sign a partisan bill to fill the void the bipartisan measure leaves in place.

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Meanwhile, the rest of Biden’s agenda, from voting rights to gun control, now looks very unlikely to get anywhere in Congress. If lawmakers can barely achieve a bipartisan moment with infrastructure spending — which once was, as Biden noted last week, a common source of bipartisan consensus — it’s unlikely more contentious legislation stands a chance.


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