After talks between the Biden administration and Republicans over infrastructure, legislation fell apart on Tuesday, June 8, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declared, “the era of bipartisanship is over.”
“As you look to what the Majority Leader has in mind for June, it’s pretty clear the era of bipartisanship is over,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol. “We’ve passed six bills so far this year—significant bills on a bipartisan basis—bills that came out of committee, that had buy-in from both sides, but I think that’s coming to a screeching halt.”
With the gender pay gap bill, Republicans pulled off their second successful filibuster of the Biden administration. Though some Democratic senators, such as Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, oppose the filibuster, others have been vocal about the necessity to do so, particularly regarding voting rights.
“To secure our democracy for all our children, we have to stand up in this defining moment in America,” stated Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock. “We can’t dance around senate procedure. No senate procedure, no senate rule, is more important than people’s constitutional rights.”
McConnell’s comments came after President Joe Biden and a group of Republican senators had just wrapped up talks on a major infrastructure plan. “While he was willing to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, the Republican group had increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are currently working on an infrastructure bill that would avoid the requirement for bipartisan cooperation.
According to an administration official who requested anonymity to disclose private thinking, the president stepped away from negotiations with chief Republican negotiator Sen. Shelley Moore Capito after the two spoke Tuesday. The official said that the president believes she bargained in good faith and would welcome her participation in the bipartisan talks.
The breakdown occurred after the two parties could not agree on the scope of the president’s massive infrastructure plan and how to pay for it.
Republicans proposed a $928 billion budget, which contained $330 billion in new spending—but not nearly enough to match Biden’s $1.7 trillion investment plan to restore the country’s roads, bridges, highways, and other infrastructure, including VA hospitals and care centers.
Per the official, the talks broke down on two major problems. The Republican senators could not come up with a sufficient amount of new investment or create clear strategies to fund it.
Biden rejected Republican senators’ proposal to use unspent COVID-19 funds to pay new infrastructure spending.
Meanwhile, Biden has begun reaching out to other senators, including Republicans who are part of a bipartisan committee led by Utah Senator Mitt Romney that intended to gather in the Capitol later Tuesday to discuss a new idea.