Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, is focused on the reconciliation process to force President Joe Biden’s partisan infrastructure legislation into law, as negotiations between the White House and Republican senators look bleak.
“He’s focused on building momentum for a reconciliation bill that will be the most consequential legislation for working people enacted since the 1930s,” a Sanders aide told Politico Monday.
The plot comes as Democrat senators have pushed back on bipartisan negotiations on infrastructure due to the withholding of certain global warming provisions that exist in the current “trojan horse” proposal.
Sanders’ intention to force his far-left agenda into legislation to be passed by reconciliation gives Democrats an extra chance to pass major fiscal legislation without consulting Republicans.
Sanders’ plan comes as Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Jon Tester (D-MT) have signaled they will not vote to cancel the filibuster, which would allow the Senate to pass measures on a simple majority without Republican support.
The position in which Senate Democrats find themselves, split on how to pass legislation, is also weighing on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“‘Poor Chuck’: Schumer confronts midyear mess,” is the title Politico used Monday to describe the challenges Senate Democrats face.
“America needs big, bold change and I’m doing everything I can to make that happen,” Schumer told the outlet.
“There’s nobody that I can think of who could do it better than he does,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse also explained. “But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. And it doesn’t mean it’s easy on him.”
But Sanders has kept the pressure on, also telling Politico that “for many, many decades the United States Congress has worried about the needs of the rich,” speaking about the need to pass an infrastructure bill. “Now is the time to pay attention to the working families of this country.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) suggested, however, Republicans should still be wary of the divided Democrats and their ultimate goal.
“I always know what Sen. Schumer’s priorities are,” Cornyn said: “to beat the Republicans in the election.”