Tiger Beat on the Potomac tells us that the Republicans have returned to the table with an even lower offer than before:
The plan: Twopeople who attended Tuesday’s GOP lunch said the plan, spearheaded by Environment and Public Works ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) on behalf of a group of centrist Republicans, would cost roughly $600 billion to $800 billion, depending how many years the plan lasted. One of the sources was more specific, putting the plan estimate between $550 billion and $880 billion. The latter number would be for an eight-year plan, the same duration as Biden’s $2.2 trillion proposal.
The pay-for: Capito proposed paying for the plan with user fees that would extend to electric and hydrogen-powered cars, which don’t pay gas taxes but which as yet make up a vanishingly small minority of vehicles on the road, and with money left over from the Covid relief package, people in the meeting said. Public-private partnerships would also be a component of the plan.
It takes a Trumpian level of incompetence to return to the negotiations with a lower offer. Our pals over at Electoral-Vote have a hot take:
We can see three possible explanations for what’s going on with the GOP Senate conference:
- They are now dysfunctional to the point that they literally cannot come up with an offer that would be a serious counteroffer, and would also be able to get at least 10 Republican votes.
- They are misreading the strength of their hand. There is no question that Joe Biden ran on unity and bipartisanship, and that he’s got some interest in those things. But, as with Lincoln 160 years ago, the exact amount of interest he has is open to discussion, and there are certainly limits. The President isn’t going to take a hatchet to his plan, yielding on most of his goals, in service of some vague (and not all that politically valuable) sense that the bill was “bipartisan.” Point is, it could be that the Republicans are grossly overestimating their leverage here.
- The Republicans are just performing kabuki theater. There has been much complaining from the right side of the aisle that Biden isn’t that serious about bipartisanship at all, that it was largely just talk, and that his meetings with Republicans are just for show so that he can claim he gave it his best shot. There may be some truth to this, and possibly a lot of truth. And so, perhaps the Capito proposal is just for show as well, such that the Republicans can also claim they tried to be bipartisan, but that the crazy radical socialist Biden just wasn’t willing to work with them.
CHOOSE ME!! CHOOSE ME! I KNOW!!!
It all of the above! But especially #3: they are going to campaign on it that they tried. The problem for the Coup Klux Klan is that the Infrastructure/Jobs bill is enthusiastically and bipartisanly (is too a wurd) supported by Wee The Peeples. Even the Coal Miners Union likes it, and that might push Sen. Joe Manchin (playing the spoiler role of Sen. Traitor Joe Lieberman) over the finish line.
But the house will open the betting windows: Ever Republican will show up for photo-ops in their districts and states for any ribbon cutting.