Because while Portman had to make sure he got that part in there about how McConnell isn’t writing the bill, McConnell is absolutely in charge of the Republicans. And when McConnell says he has “total unity” from his team in obstructing Joe Biden’s presidency, he’s not bluffing.
As if to demonstrate, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney—the one guy supposedly stands for something among the GOP—parroted the party line about Schumer being too hasty. “I think we’ll move quickly, but we’re not going to vote on something until we actually have a bill,” he told reporters at the end of last week.
Schumer has also set Wednesday has the deadline for agreement in the Democratic caucus on the budget blueprint that will form the basis of larger, $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill that includes the major economic priorities of Biden’s plan. He’s been intent on making the two tracks of this process—the regular order bipartisan bill and the budget reconciliation, which can pass with a simple majority—proceed side-by-side.
“Everyone has been having productive conversations and it’s important to keep the two-track process moving,” Schumer said Thursday, when he announced the Wednesday deadlines. “All parties involved in the bipartisan infrastructure bill talks must now finalize their agreement so the Senate can begin considering that legislation next week.”
On Friday, however, a right-wing and reliably anti-immigration federal judge in Texas threw a wrench into the works, adding more complexity to what the Democrats are needing to do by declaring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program illegal. Which means that putting a path to citizenship for Dreamers and other immigrants into the reconciliation bill has become urgent and essential to make sure it’s done this year.
But supporting a reconciliation bill that might hike taxes on the wealthy and invest in lessening our reliance on fossil fuels? “That’s a challenge,” Manchin said. It’s going to be a long, busy week.