Next Steps: Infrastructure and Voting Rights

President Biden announced he has signed off on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. We don’t yet know exactly what’s in it. Greg Sargent writes, “The emerging bipartisan deal, which Biden just endorsed, would spend around $1.2 trillion on roads, bridges and other concrete infrastructure, with around $579 billion or a shade less being new spending. It won’t be paid for with corporate tax hikes (which Republicans despise).” However, he says there are no taxes on gas, either. Other than that, it’s kind of a blur.

The plan is still to go ahead with the reconciliation bill to cover whatever the bipartisan bill leaves out. This is, apparently, to placade Joe Manchin and probably Kyrsten Sinema as well, so that they will be willing to vote for the reconciliation bill. It’s a deal that is part of another deal. But we don’t know if it will work. Sargent again:

The rub for progressives is that once Manchin extracts his pound of flesh, there’s no certainty that the reconciliation package will ever pass. As Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) puts it, progressives must insist on a “guarantee” that it will happen and will be sufficiently ambitious.

What happens if Manchin and other moderates pull their support or insist on something far too small, stabbing the left in the back?

It’s also the case that many progressive legislators probably think the bipartisan deal stinks out loud, so its passage is far from certain. It’ll also be fun to see how many Republicans will refuse to vote for the bipartisan bill, including some who claimed they would. Maybe it won’t survive cloture. But if it does, and if the progressives are persuaded that passage of the bipartisan bill makes the reconciliation bill more viable, perhaps the bipartisan bill will pass.

As for voting rights, here is the latest I’ve heard. Ronald Brownstein writes at The Atlantic,

Advocates are betting that a combination of what might be called inside proof and outside pressure will yield their best chance of persuading the last Democratic holdouts to restrict use of the filibuster that Republicans employed on Tuesday to block consideration of the Democrats’ sweeping voting-rights and political-reform legislation.

The inside proof is a sustained effort to demonstrate to those reluctant Democrats, particularly Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, that no federal voting-rights bill can attract the 10 Republicans currently required to break a filibuster. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, a lead sponsor of the legislation that Republicans filibustered Tuesday, told me that Democrats intend to quickly negotiate a new, slimmed-down bill based on the compromise principles Manchin offered last week—and to task him and Sinema with assessing whether any, much less 10, Republicans will sign on.

Democratic advocates want to bookend these intra-Capitol maneuvers with outside mobilization. An alliance of some 70 progressive groups supporting federal voting-rights legislation earlier this month announced plans for more than 115 upcoming events in 32 states. Some of the organizations have unveiled plans for substantial media buys promoting federal action. “The goal is to have a strong showing for the importance of democracy this summer,” Meagan Hatcher-Mays, the director of democracy policy at the liberal advocacy group Indivisible told reporters in a conference call this week.

Go to the Indivivisible website to see how you can help.

Manchin and Sinema are being tasked with finding the 10 reasonable Republicans to force them to personally confront the reality that there aren’t any, Brownstein says. Seems to me that if they haven’t figured that out already they’re too stupid to be outside an assisted living facility without supervision. It’s more likely they already do know this, and don’t care.

In other news, Rudy Giuliani has had his New York law license revoked. John McAfee, the anti-virus software guy, is dead and appears to have committed suicide. Nancy Pelosi will launch a select House committee to investigate January 6.

The Maricopa County, Arizona, “fraudit” is supposed to be winding down; “results” pending. Do see Inside the ‘shadow reality world’ promoting the lie that the presidential election was stolen at WaPo. An entire, complex ecosphere has formed around the Big Lie, and we can be certain some people are making a lot of money from it even if it doesn’t go anywhere politically.

Update: See also Kate Riga at TPM, Senate Progressives Determined Not To Get Hosed By Moderates On Infrastructure.

Sinema and Manchin