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House GOP's infrastructure vote count could scramble Dem agenda

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If House Democrats keep pushing their two-track plan for a party-line social spending bill and a bipartisan infrastructure bill, they can't expect many GOP passengers on that second train.

Fewer than a dozen House Republicans are expected to vote for the $550 billion infrastructure bill — which got 19 Senate GOP votes last month — according to multiple lawmakers in the party. But the infrastructure measure's House GOP support could triple if Democrats detach its fate from a party-line social spending bill with a multitrillion-dollar price tag, several House Republicans estimated in Monday interviews.

Those numbers are still in flux, the members said, addressing the closely held vote count candidly on condition of anonymity. But the fluidity of the situation illuminates the plate-spinning act that House Democratic leaders are trying to pull off: Depending on how many of their progressives withhold votes from the infrastructure bill, an unexpected uptick in GOP support on the floor could upend the careful plans of President Joe Biden's party.

“If the $3.5 trillion reconciliation push dies, there will be more GOP support,” said centrist Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), referring to the filibuster-proof process Democrats are using for their separate social spending bill. Bacon, a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, said its members would lend a hand on infrastructure “if there is a standalone vote.”

Of course, Democrats are staying yoked to what they've called their two-track approach: linking the infrastructure bill crafted by their centrists to a bigger, progressive-leaning measure that would expand Medicare, boost paid leave and fight climate change. But as that latter reconciliation push teeters amid growing intra-party Democratic........

© Politico

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