The counter to that argument is that voting to sink BIB could put Democrats back in array. If House Republicans reject a genuine bipartisan bill that has already earned 19 Senate Republican votes, doing so would signal to Democratic moderates that they have been wasting their time straining to achieve bipartisanship, validating longstanding progressive arguments. Concluding that a partisan reconciliation bill is the only way to make Biden’s presidency successful, the moderates could wash their hands of the Republicans, resolve their outstanding intra-party disagreements (with progressives wielding enhanced leverage), incorporate the elements of BIB into BBB, and pass it all in partisan fashion. Biden would still get his win, while congressional Republicans would lose the opportunity to get any hometown credit for the roads, bridges, water service and broadband funded in BIB.
The argument for House Republicans voting “yes” tracks with the reasoning behind Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 18 other Senate Republicans voting “yes” — Republicans not only get some credit for building and repairing physical infrastructure, they also scrub off their reputation for being obstructionist forces of governmental dysfunction. They also bolster the leverage of Democratic moderates, helping to constrain the desires of the progressives.
While being obstructionist may bring squabbling Democrats together, being bipartisan may instigate more Democratic infighting, as frustrated progressives bemoan their inability to outmuscle the moderates.
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