Biden's two-track infrastructure push keeps chugging along

www.nbcnews.com
6 min read
fairly easy
If the bipartisan infrastructure deal holds, it will be a victory for Biden and the presidency he promised — as well as a reminder agreement is possible.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and the 50-50 divided U.S. Senate are now on the cusp of their first real bipartisan achievement — $550 billion in new spending on roads, rail, transit and other hard infrastructure.

"The Senate voted 67-32 to begin debate on the measure, getting 17 Republicans to sign on, more than the 10 needed to break a filibuster," NBC's Capitol Hill team reports, though they add that final passage isn't assured and could take until the weekend.

If it holds, it will be a victory for Biden and the presidency he promised. It also will be a reminder that if you have enough people who want to get a deal done, you can get a deal.

A month ago, we said that Biden faced three possible derailments to his two-track infrastructure push. But for now, it looks he's avoided — or is on track to avoid — all three.

Derailment #1 was a revolt by conservatives — that they would sink any bipartisan deal. A month later, however, conservative media and commentators were never fired up on the issue. And it wasn't until the end that Donald Trump opposed the infrastructure deal, but even that opposition was half-hearted and vague.

Also don't forget about Biden's damage control to reassure GOP senators who were upset that he wouldn't sign a bipartisan infrastructure without a Democratic-only reconciliation bill as well. It looks like he succeeded.

Derailment #2 was the on the Democratic side — that the consensus between progressives and moderates would unravel. Here, the key player was the Senate Budget Committee, which is run by Bernie Sanders but includes moderates like Mark Warner. They agreed last month on a $3.5 trillion spending framework to pass through reconciliation that would include a wide range of others progressive priorities, from climate to health care to education. That's less than the $6 trillion Sanders wanted and even less than what House progressives want, but it's in line with President Biden's jobs and family plans.

There were also key…
Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Ben Kamisar, Benjy Sarlin
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