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Democrats' infrastructure delays squeeze an endangered species: GOP centrists

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Democratic leaders' ambitious domestic agenda is trapped in a political tug of war: The more they yank toward progressives, the more they pull away from centrist GOP forces that rallied behind their infrastructure bill.

That infrastructure plan passed the Senate less than two months ago with 19 GOP votes. But top Democrats’ insistence on linking it to a bigger, party-line social spending measure has squeezed House Republican centrists who’d hoped to deliver dozens of votes for the roads and rails bill from their side of the aisle.

There aren’t many of those GOP centrists, but their support could further burnish the infrastructure bill’s bipartisan credentials. With Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden tying infrastructure to massive spending on progressive priorities, however, Republicans who’d wished for a standalone vote are now forced into an intricate dance — ignoring the linkage and backing an infrastructure bill that doesn’t stand on its own.

Those machinations involve more than just GOP lawmakers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, once an establishment Republican bulwark, has denied reports that it’s yanked support from the infrastructure plan while insisting that it only supports the measure decoupled from the Democrats’ social spending mega-bill.

And the party’s biggest winner in the entire affair is House GOP leaders, who say Democrats are only helping their efforts to unite their conference against the infrastructure measure by repeatedly linking the two together. Republicans are using the connection as a messaging cudgel to beat down backing for the infrastructure bill.

“Frankly, we used a lot of Democratic leadership's words … There were statements from Pelosi to Schumer to Bernie Sanders, all the way up to President Biden, that made clear that all bills were........

© Politico

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