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McCarthy faces speakership test on infrastructure vote

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23.08.2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blessed President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal, but with the House majority on the line, Kevin McCarthy is facing a different decision — how harshly to oppose it.

With the House voting this week on advancing the infrastructure legislation, a $3.5 trillion Democratic spending framework plus an election reform bill, Republicans are still waiting to receive guidance on whether the GOP leader will whip against or withhold his influential fire on the bipartisan plan.

"You can't really develop a whip strategy until you know what votes are going to be called,” said Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), the top Republican on the Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee overseeing highways and transit.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi can pass the bipartisan bill and the broad Democratic spending plan without Republican votes, but she’s staring down warring factions in her own caucus and could use any breathing room GOP votes could offer.

Progressives are threatening to sink the bipartisan deal unless she holds to her commitment to tie the vote to the party-line spending plan, and moderates oppose the broader spending framework without a swift, standalone vote on infrastructure. She can only afford to lose three Democrats absent any GOP votes on infrastructure — it’s already a foregone conclusion that all Republicans will fight the Democratic social spending plan, and some are even considering procedural antics to protest the bill.



Meanwhile, McCarthy is navigating a political tightrope of his own. Most Republicans are expected to oppose the infrastructure bill, but with the GOP largely expected to take the House majority in 2022 and McCarthy openly vying for the speakership, he must both ensure moderates don’t feel left out to dry and also shore up his right flank.

McCarthy, for his part, has said he opposes the bill. The California Republican told Fox News on Tuesday that he believes “zero” Republicans would support the........

© Politico


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