The infrastructure waiting game

Email sent: Jun 16, 2021 6:01pm
Democratic unity will be tested with the infrastructure bill; Biden and Putin meet in Geneva.

Democrats want to move forward on infrastructure without Republicans; Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin held a summit.


Tonight's Sentences was written by Gabby Birenbaum.


Schumer bets on Democratic unity

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images


  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer  is meeting with the Senate Budget Committee’s Democrats to begin putting together President Joe Biden’s 2022 budget resolution, creating a path to passing Biden’s infrastructure and jobs plans without the need for Republican votes. [The Hill / Alexander Bolton]
  • Schumer’s move is part of a two-pronged Democratic strategy to pass two bills: a bipartisan “hard” infrastructure package and a progressive budget resolution to accomplish Biden’s other priorities, such as clean energy and universal child care, using budget reconciliation to bypass the filibuster. [Axios / Alayna Treene]
  • But the strategy has multiple potential fault lines. Republicans, knowing more progressive items are coming, could back out of the bipartisan talks. And progressive Democrats are worried that their moderate counterparts will not support the partisan bill if bipartisan hard infrastructure has already passed. [USA Today / Ledyard King and Joey Garrison]
  • House Democrats, in particular, could hold up a bipartisan bill if they feel it does not achieve key Democratic priorities — something Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made clear. [Washington Post / Peter Stevenson]
  • Key progressive senators have also said they will not support a scaled-down bipartisan bill unless they have guarantees from all 50 Senate Democrats on the size and scope of the Democrats’ budget bill. [NYT / Emily Cochrane and Jonathan Weisman]
  • All of this hedging makes it more likely that Democrats go it alone on the entire package, especially if it appears that Republicans solely want to obstruct the process. Biden adviser Steve Ricchetti has said the White House will give the bipartisan talks seven to 10 more days. [The Hill / Alexander Bolton and Mike Lillis]
  • One of the biggest impediments to a bipartisan deal is funding: Republicans have floated raising the gas tax; Democrats want to raise the corporate tax rate, which has been a nonstarter with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. [AP / Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking]
  • Schumer has said his projected timeline for both the budget resolution and the infrastructure bill is July passage. [Politico / Burgess Everett, Sarah Ferris, and Marianne Levine
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Biden and Putin meet

  • President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in roughly three hours of talks in Geneva today at a low moment in post-Cold War US-Russia relations, with Biden casting the stakes as a battle between democracy and autocracy. [NYT]
  • Biden’s goal for the summit is to achieve “predictability and stability” moving forward with Russian relations. Both sides also want to lower expectations for the relationship, saying holding a meeting was promising and that no major breakthroughs were anticipated. [AP / Jonathan Lemire, Vladimir Isachenkov, and Aamer Madhani]
  • Biden also said he wanted to make clear to Putin where his “red lines” were of things he would not tolerate, potentially setting himself up for a need to retaliate if Putin were to cross one. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • Putin, who gave the first post-summit press conference, said he and Biden discussed beginning consultations on cybersecurity and agreed to return ambassadors, calling the meeting overall “productive.” [CNN]
  • In his press conference, Biden called the meeting “positive”; he mentioned the red lines he had communicated to Putin, raised human rights concerns he had about the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and provided Putin with a list of off-limits entities for cyberattacks. [Axios / Jacob Knutson]

Google will open its first retail store tomorrow, selling its hardware products in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. [Bloomberg / Nico Grant]

  • At their convention in Nashville, Southern Baptists, the largest Protestant denomination in the country, elected moderate pastor Ed Litton to serve as their next president, over ultra-right candidate Mike Stone. [The Tennessean / Holly Meyer]
  • Mayors are leaving office en masse, with many citing pandemic burnout, low budgets, polarization, and vilification by former President Trump and others. [Politico / Lisa Kashinsky]
  • On what would have been Tupac Shakur's 50th birthday, Jada Pinkett Smith shared a never-before-seen poem handwritten by the rapper. [People / Benjamin VanHoose]

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