Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is vowing to make the passage of a partisan infrastructure package as difficult as possible — calling Democrats’ multi-trillion dollar spending plans “wildly inappropriate” due to the impact previous mammoth spending packages have had on the national debt.
McConnell noted that Democrats can use the reconciliation process to bypass the filibuster, which requires 60 votes in the upper chamber for passage, but added that there is going to be a “hell of a fight” if members across the aisle attempt to sidestep Republicans.
“There is a process by which they could pass this without a single Republican. But we’re going to make it hard for them. And there are a few Democrats left in rural America and some others who would like to be more in the political center who may find this offensive,” he said at an event in Kentucky on Tuesday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called for the upper chamber to take up both the $1.2 trillion bipartisan deal and a budget resolution that would allow Democrats to pass a sweeping companion bill without Republican support by the end of the month. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said the lower chamber will only take up the smaller-scale bill when the Senate moves on a reconciliation package.
The Kentucky Republican said that the $1.2 trillion agreement would be met with support from Republicans, but sees the second infrastructure plan being pushed for by progressives as a nonstarter.
“The era of bipartisanship on this stuff is over. This is not going to be done on a bipartisan basis. This is going to be a hell of a fight over what this country ought to look like. I don’t think we’ve had a bigger difference of opinion,” he said.
McConnell went on to praise President Biden as “a nice guy,” but argued that he hasn’t “seen any evidence yet of moderation,” casting doubt on the probability of the passage of a deal that appeases both sides.
“We’re not going to have an agreement. We’re going to have a big argument,” he said.
”There’s no mandate to do this stuff. So we’re there to argue about this and to hopefully in the end prevail.”
While moderate Democrats have advocated for a smaller package, progressives including Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have called for roughly $6 trillion in spending.