Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) just dropped the hammer on Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden after they pulled a fast on the GOP during infrastructure talks. Yesterday a deal bipartisan deal was made on infrastructure and all things looked possible in DC until Pelosi and Biden demanded it be passed alongside a budget resolution with key Democratic priorities they can pass without GOP support.
“If he’s gonna tie them together, he can forget it!” Graham said. “I’m not doing that. That’s extortion! I’m not going to do that. The Dems are being told you can’t get your bipartisan work product passed unless you sign on to what the left wants, and I’m not playing that game.”
Graham said he was never told about this dual-track strategy: “Most Republicans could not have known that. There’s no way. You look like a f*cking idiot now. I don’t mind bipartisanship, but I’m not going to do a suicide mission.”
The state of play: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also opposed this requirement on the Senate floor Thursday, accusing Democratic leadership of “pulling the rug out from under their bipartisan negotiators.”
Pelosi said hours before the deal was announced: “There ain’t going to be an infrastructure bill unless we have the reconciliation bill passed by the United States Senate.”
From The Hill:
The agreement announced outside the White House and captured in back-slapping photos that quickly ricocheted throughout Washington, came after significant doubt had been cast on the group’s ability to lock down a deal.
Many had predicted the talks would collapse or unravel, and had said Biden was wasting time.
Instead, Biden’s appearance outside the White House with the bipartisan Senate group marked a big win for Senate moderates and Biden himself, who campaigned as a dealmaker but struggled to break through with Republicans.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), in a rare gaggle with reporters on Capitol Hill, took a veiled jab at the naysayers.
“Folks around D.C. and around the nation will lament and say that bipartisanship is a thing that’s gone past. And you all have heard for weeks now people saying that a bipartisan agreement couldn’t happen,” Sinema said.
She said the deal “is proof that bipartisanship is alive and well in the United States Senate and in our country.”
Thursday’s breakthrough will only be the start of a weeks— if not months-long—slog to get an infrastructure package to Biden’s desk.
The bipartisan agreement is already facing pushback from both sides of the aisle.
Some Republicans warn that Biden’s threat to not sign the bill unless a larger package is passed through special budgetary rules sidestepping the filibuster is a “dealbreaker.”
Progressives want an “iron-clad” commitment that the bipartisan package won’t become law unless the sweeping Democratic-only bill has a clear path to Biden’s desk.
“The challenge now is to make sure the rest of our caucus on the Democratic side and the Republican caucus know what’s in this bill and can join us on supporting it,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who acknowledged the challenge ahead.
After hearing what President Biden said about linking the small bipartisan bill to the big reconciliation bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham told us … he’s out https://t.co/QCsAzP2AsI— POLITICO (@politico) June 25, 2021
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Sunday blasted a Democratic-backed election reform bill as “the biggest power grab in the history of the country.” https://t.co/PlxKlsNeHI— Newsmax (@newsmax) June 21, 2021