As the architects of the bipartisan Senate plan began pitching its contours to their fellow lawmakers on Tuesday, hoping to build political momentum, multiple Democrats — liberals in particular — lashed out at the approach.
They questioned its price tag, which includes roughly $579 billion in new spending, since it is much smaller than the roughly $2.2 trillion Biden initially put forward as part of his American Jobs Plan. And they raised concerns that Senate negotiators might have traded away too many of their policy priorities in pursuit of Republican support — perhaps jeopardizing Democratic votes in the process...
The dissent among Democratic ranks had been building behind the scenes for days, with lawmakers conveying publicly and privately to the White House that the administration risked losing support from their own party, particularly if they watered down key climate-change provisions in pursuit of Republican votes. In turn, the administration has quickly convened private calls with key Democrats to assuage their concerns on the issue.
“If they want a bipartisan infrastructure package to have the unified support of the Democratic caucus, those of us who insist on there being serious climate measures at long, long last are going to need specific assurances about how that gets done,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said of the administration.