No deal: Bernie burns Biden, backs progressives in BIF standoff

Joe Biden should have just gotten on the plane. Even before Biden launched his Hail Mary play with the “framework” announcement, Bernie Sanders had intercepted the pass. CNN’s Manu Raju reported that Sanders had told House progressives to stay defiant and oppose a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless and until they get a reconciliation bill first:


It’s a game of chicken between the two cliques of the Democratic Party, and neither side wants to blink. The collision appears to be not just imminent but spectacular, quite the spectacle for anyone whose jobs or desired consumer products don’t depend on the supply chain.

Just how desperate was Biden’s plan? He didn’t even have either wing of his party on board with his framework, the New York Times reports:

Details were still unclear on the precise shape of the package, but people familiar with his plans said the president, who delayed his departure for a trip to Europe to nail down an accord on his domestic agenda, would use a 9 a.m. meeting at the Capitol to rally House Democrats around the emerging deal.

He was pushing to convince liberal members that a final compromise was close enough to allow them to support a separate, $1 trillion infrastructure bill that has already passed the Senate.

One of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Biden expected the plan would secure the support of every congressional Democrat. But at least one lawmaker involved in the talks had been told as of Thursday morning that two crucial holdouts, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, had yet to commit to voting for it, according to another person briefed on the discussions, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.


That’s not just a Hail Mary, that’s a bluff while holding a jack-high hand. It’s easy to slam progressives for their all-or-nothing, no-compromise posture, but in this case Sanders has a legit argument. Why would progressives trust Biden to deliver on this framework without getting any commitments from Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema? Biden might as well ask them to buy a pig in a poke.

That will no doubt intensify the “lack of trust” that The Hill cites as the main obstacle for Biden, but come on, man:

As Democratic leaders race to advance President Biden’s agenda this week, the highest barrier to a quick infrastructure victory is not one of policy or politics, but distrust.

House liberals have blocked a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, not to protest the substance, but because they simply don’t have faith in party moderates to keep their commitment to a larger “family” benefits bill if it’s left hanging in limbo after infrastructure moves to Biden’s desk. …

Liberals are accusing the centrist pair of moving the goal posts as the talks have evolved. Manchin, for example, has endorsed the notion of hiking taxes on the wealthy, but is now pushing back against a newly proposed billionaire tax.

The flipflopping has infuriated Senate liberals like Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who lamented Wednesday that every proposed revenue stream “seems to be destroyed” by the moderate holdouts. And it hasn’t been overlooked in the House, where progressives are pointing to Manchin’s revolving position on tax hikes as further reason for their growing distrust.

“Manchin and Sinema keep raising different issues late in the game, which they could have done a while back,” Gomez said. “It erodes people’s trust that they’re actually serious about getting anything done.”


Somehow, it seems unlikely that Biden’s attempt to flim-flam them into voting for the bipartisan infrastructure bill will rebuild trust in his leadership or honesty. And now Biden’s put even more of his personal prestige on the line with this eleventh-hour substance-less stunt, which makes the inevitable failure even more his fault than ever.

Perhaps Manchin and Sinema will relent, but it seems unlikelier at this stage, and the progressives have only hardened their position today. Unless something dramatic changes, both bills will go down in flames by this weekend, and all that will be left will be the ruins of this Congress and the incriminations over its collapse. Those should start and end with Biden, whose ego and hubris fueled this effort to vault him into the same league as FDR and LBJ without having the congressional majorities of either. Next time … do the math first.

Update: Joe Biden claims he has everyone on board:



It’s a good day indeed … for the popcorn industry.

Update: Not even the #2 Senate Democrat knows what’s going on:

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos