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The Senate’s three-week sprint
Senate Democrats and President Biden have a delicate dance on their hands.
Lawmakers return to Washington today with one major assignment: Pass trillions of dollars investments to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, expand our social safety net and confront the climate crisis.
It sounds easier than done though.
First, there’s the work of translating the agreement a group of moderate senators from both parties negotiated last month into the formal legislative text to vote on.
There’s also the issue of timing. The White House and Democratic leadership want this done before the Senate goes on its August recess through Labor Day. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter over the weekend warning senators that they should expect to work long nights, weekends and stick around in Washington to through the weekend until the mission is accomplished. (The threat of a shortened recess is likely to rankle lawmakers who need face time with their constituents and donors ahead of next year’s midterm elections.)
Schumer reiterated the Democrats’ strategy of passing a two-track package that includes a bipartisan infrastructure framework to modernize our roads, bridges and transit centers and a budget resolution to approve President Joe Biden’s American Jobs and Families plans, which includes provisions on aforementioned climate change, health care and the care economy.
This will require a delicate balancing act of securing enough Republican support for the infrastructure framework while satisfying both moderate and progressive Democrats since all fifty senators will need to vote for the resolution so Vice President Kamala Harris can step on the scene to break the tie.
The urgency is thick because this is likely the Democrats’ last chance to pass any meaningful legislation before the campaign season kicks off. History hints that Republicans should make gains in both the House and Senate next year since the president’s opposing party typically regains power in the midterms. But the left intends to buck this trend by showing voters receipts to remind them that shots are in arms, checks were cashed, health care was expanded, the economy has rebounded and workers have been empowered because of their efforts. We’ll see if it’s enough in due time.
This post was originally published in Supercreator AM, a free morning guide to what you need to know about politics, policy and power — and why it matters — so you can focus on your creative work without feeling out of the loop from the news of the day.