Former President Donald Trump is increasing his efforts to encourage resistance to President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda among Republicans in Congress after nearly a dozen broke ranks with their party to support a bipartisan infrastructure compromise package negotiated with the White House.
In a statement on Monday, the former president asserted that GOP senators “have all the cards, including political cards” to stop more of Mr Biden’s legislation from making it through the divided 50-50 Senate.
“The 19 Senators who voted for the (non) Infrastructure Bill, of which only 11% is infrastructure as we know it, have created a big setback for Republicans. They can’t make mistakes like that again. They must play every card in the deck!” Mr Trump said, warning of an “onslaught of Democrat Legislation that will further lead to the destruction of the United States”.
His words come as it appears that the bipartisan infrastructure package will receive few if any Republican votes in the House thanks to the efforts of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to keep his caucus in near-uniform opposition; at issue is the Democrat-led reconciliation bill that the party is hoping to pass along party lines without GOP support simultaneously.
Democrats can afford very few defections of their own if Republican defiance holds, a situation which has given House progressives an advantage as they seek to force more conservative members of the party to support the reconciliation bill by threatening to vote against the bipartisan compromise package unless the reconciliation bill passes.
Moderates have attempted to make similar demands, but party leadership has thus far sided with passing the full reconciliation bill first; Speaker Nancy Pelosi has specifically vowed publicly that it would pass first on several occasions.
The two infrastructure bills represent the first major legislative push of the Biden administration outside of a Covid-19 relief package passed through the reconciliation process along party lines earlier this year, and comes as the battle for control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms is just beginning to heat up around the US.
Congress is set for a busy week as both bills and the extension of the debt ceiling are all set to be handled in the next few days; White House press secretary Jen Psaki joked on Monday that she and others had “Wheaties for breakfast” and predicted several days jam-packed with work this week, while stressing that there was broad agreement on the foundations of the bills among the Democratic caucus.
She also took the opportunity to note the continued outcry from Republicans regarding the influx of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border and asserted that despite the criticism there was little to no appetite among the GOP Senate caucus to work with Democrats to solve the problems.
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