A few weeks ago, the public first heard of a video in which Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex) spoke to his allies about his party’s legislative perspective. The Texas Republican said it was the “job” of GOP lawmakers to slow the Democratic majority’s agenda – on infrastructure, among other things – until next year’s midterm elections.
Roy added that Republicans would benefit from “another 18 months of chaos and the inability to get things done.”
The quote continued to come to mind yesterday, as Senate Republicans, having already agreed to a bipartisan framework on an immigration deal, said they did not want to move forward with a procedural vote tomorrow. On the contrary, as the Washington post reported, GOP senators want to slow things down and take more time.
With the package still evolving, the deadline greatly troubled Republicans, some of whom blasted Democrats for rushing already fragile negotiations. “Unless Senator Schumer doesn’t want that to happen, you need a little more time to get it right,” said Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) In an interview on Fox News Sunday.
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) added yesterday that she, too, was concerned that Democratic leaders are trying to rush the process.
For those on schedule, President Joe Biden has started bipartisan infrastructure negotiations in February. It’s also been four weeks since the White House and a bipartisan group of lawmakers shook hands and came to an agreement on how best to proceed.
With that in mind, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) has scheduled a procedural vote for tomorrow – not on the final passage of a competing bill, but to get the debate going. to the next step.
The New York Democrat explained this yesterday, saying he would use “a shell bill” as the final proposal takes shape, which will allow members to move the process forward.
He said Wednesday’s motion would allow him to move quickly to swap the official bill on which the group of five Democratic senators and five Republican senators are working as “the replacement First Amendment” on Thursday. If not done by then, “I will propose an amendment that will only include those elements of the bill that have been considered in committee with substantial bipartisan support,” he said.
Late yesterday, Senate Republicans were nonetheless insisting they were prepared to derail tomorrow’s vote. The measure will need 60 votes to move forward, and a GOP leader said there was “no chance” that 10 Republican senators would be ready to follow the Democrats’ timetable.
Around the same time, the President made brief remarks on the economy and said: “[W]We need to be united on one thing: the adoption of the Bipartite Infrastructure Framework, which we shook hands with. We shook his hand. “
The implication of Biden’s comments was that he expects Republicans to honor their commitments to the bipartisan agreement. It now seems unlikely.