'Time to pull the plug': Democratic criticism grows of bipartisan infrastructure talks
June 10, 2021 at 21:34
It's time to move forward," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, told CNN on the talks with the bipartisan group.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal added: "I have no confidence that this bipartisan group will reach a deal.
I really think it's time to pull the plug now and take action promptly and robustly ...
Democratic leaders say they are pursuing Biden's massive infrastructure and social safety net package along both bipartisan and partisan tracks.
Yet a number of Democrats say that whatever bipartisan deal moves forward is unlikely to win wide backing within their caucus.
But the bipartisan group is instead looking at redirecting already-enacted Covid-19 relief money, while raising the gas tax subject to inflation -- ideas that a number of Democrats flatly oppose.
Many of the lawmakers in the bipartisan group hail from states outside of the Northeast corridor where residents rely heavily on rail and mass transit.
Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona push to pursue bipartisan talks instead.
On the Republican side, members of the bipartisan group briefed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday with GOP members telling reporters that McConnell signaled he was "open" to letting the talks play out.
That's a good next step," said Sen. Bill Cassidy, Republican from Louisiana, who is part of the group trying to hash out a bipartisan deal.
"I think he thinks he is going to get a better deal," Cornyn said of Biden's ongoing talks with a new set of Republicans.
"No," Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said when asked if would support the bipartisan group's potential agreement.