Politics Portman slams Pelosi's threat to withhold infrastructure bill
Senator: Bipartisan infrastructure bill loses IRS provision
WASHINGTON (AP) — A proposal to strengthen IRS enforcement to crack down on tax scofflaws and help fund a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure spending is officially off the table, Republican Sen. Rob Portman said Sunday. © Provided by Associated Press President Joe Biden speaks with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and other bipartisan group of senators, Thursday June 24, 2021, outside the White House in Washington. Biden invited members of the group of 21 Republican and Democratic senators to discuss the infrastructure plan. From left are Portman, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Sen.
If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds offinfrastructure bill until a larger bill is passed through reconciliation by the Senate, the Democrats could end up with nothing, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Sunday.
Pelosi, in aon ABC's "This Week," said that she plans to stick with her decision to hold any vote on the bipartisan deal until after the Senate passes a larger infrastructure package through reconciliation.
"I won't put it on the floor until we have the rest of the initiative," Pelosi said.
Portman rips 'arbitrary deadline of Wednesday' on infrastructure
Republican Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) criticized the decision to set a preliminary vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill for Wednesday, calling the date an "arbitrary deadline."Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday announced that the upper chamber will vote to open debate on the bipartisan infrastructure package on Wednesday, setting up a key test vote on the legislation, which took months to negotiate. Schumer will file cloture on a shell bill that senators will later swap the bipartisan legislation into.
"I'm not happy with what she said," Portman told "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos. "It's inconsistent with the agreement that we have on a bipartisan basis."
"Does that mean we'll end up with nothing?" Stephanopoulos asked Portman.
"If she has her way, we could," Portman responded. "I can't believe the speaker of the House would be blocking it."
Still, Portman said the bipartisan infrastructure bill deal is near completion.
"We're about 90% of the way there," Portman said. "I feel good about getting that done this week."
Portman's optimism on Sunday indicated that negotiations have improved since late last week.
Democrats were making a behind-the-scenes push to move some funding away from highways to increase federal funding for transit. The senator was so frustrated with the state of negotiations on Thursday that he told reporters they might just drop highway funding from the bill entirely.
Schumer to push Senate forward on bipartisan infrastructure bill, budget resolution this week
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the Senate this week, and wants Democrats to agree on a budget bill.Also this week, Schumer wants Senate Democrats to agree to move forward with a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that they plan to pass without any Republican votes.
"We have one issue outstanding and we're not getting much response from the Democrats on it -- it's about mass transit," Portman said Sunday.
Negotiators told ABC News the bipartisan infrastructure package could be ready to vote on again as early as Monday. Portman emphasized the popularity of the bill.
"Eighty-seven percent of the American people think we should do a bipartisan infrastructure package. It's the right thing to do. Every president in modern times has talked about it," Portman said.
Portman also rejected criticism that the negotiations on the bill are not truly bipartisan.
"Every single one of the issues has been bipartisan in the sense there have been Republican views and Democrat views and we found a way to find common ground, which is exactly what ought to happen," Portman responded.
Negotiators struggle to finish infrastructure deal with clock ticking
A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators and senior White House officials is struggling to finish work on an infrastructure package that is now set to get its first vote as soon as Wednesday.The senators have narrowed the number of outstanding disagreements in the talks to roughly a dozen, but the biggest problem of them all, how exactly to pay for $579 billion in new spending, remains unresolved.That number represents spending over current budget baselines. The total deal is estimated at $1.2 trillion over eight years or $973 trillion over five years.
Stephanopoulos also pressed Portman on why the Republicans are threatening not to vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling when they did so three times under former President Donald Trump.
The debt ceiling suspension is set to expire on July 31. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Punchbowl News on Wednesday, "I can't imagine there will be a single Republican voting to raise the debt ceiling after what we've been experiencing," despite a warning from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that failure to raise the debt ceiling would have "catastrophic economic consequences."
"Under every president there is a discussion of how you actually -- if you're going to raise the debt ceiling, how -- how to use something to affect the debt, particularly the long-term debt of this country," Portman responded. "And I think we ought to have that discussion."
5 Reasons Biden Got His Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal .
Mitch McConnell is poised to hand the president a big win. Here’s why.Biden had campaigned on his (putative) gifts for brokering compromise. But savvy observers knew that the candidate was singing paeans to a long-dead deity: The God of Bipartisanship had forsaken Congress shortly after Barack Obama took office. As the ideological gap between the parties widened, the scope for common cause narrowed. Meanwhile, McConnell had discerned that the voting public blames the president’s party for government dysfunction, even if that dysfunction emanates from the opposition.