Clash Coming: Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell Are Preparing for a Spending Standoff

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It’s not in our nature to peacefully hold two contradictory thoughts at the same time. The friction isn’t something we are wired for; the cognitive dissonance usually forces us to change or ignore one of those thoughts. It’s how only a small sliver of people can believe bleu cheese is both a delicious indulgence and disgusting pile of visible mold. The rest of us pick a camp and stay there because, eventually, most people ditch the idea they are least loyal to.

In Washington, however, contradictory realities can co-exist for months… or longer. Take Joe Biden’s big-ticket infrastructure and family plans. They are simultaneously incredibly popular across this country and politically dead in the water at the moment.

Biden and his Cabinet have been hitting the road, pitching the plans’ components and trying to build pressure on hold-out Republicans. They’re trying to boost the public’s familiarity with the broad ideas and put some ornaments on this Christmas tree — pre-K for young families, two years of free community college for young voters, tax credits for childcare and job-training for the promised green economy. If this once-a-generation boost is going to come, it’s going to require a national backing so strong that it’s politically untenable to block it.

“There’s overwhelming bipartisan support for this,” Biden said yesterday during a stop in Portsmouth, Va. “You look at the polling data: Republican voters overwhelmingly support it. Now I just got to get some of my Republican colleagues to support it.”

Biden’s not wrong. When explained to voters, it’s a rare political winner in all corners. Who doesn’t want to see their town’s bridge fixed, or the option to ditch exorbitant private day care for their four-year-old? But Biden may also discount Republicans’ tenacity. While he is out there sloganeering to Build Back Better, the Republicans are countering with Block Biden’s Bet. The public is taking note of their obstructionism: the ABC News/ Ipsos poll released Sunday found 67% of Americans think Republicans have done too little to compromise, with even 37% of Republicans joining in that bloc. When asked the same question about Biden, only 39% of Americans think he’s done too little to compromise.

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But it might not matter if the GOP is making the bet that blocking legislation, wherever the effort originates, will sour voters an all-Democratic Washington and punish the party during next year’s midterms. Historically, the party in power in the White House doesn’t do well in midterms.

Hours before Biden visited Virginia, where the state’s two Democratic Senators are going to be yay votes for almost anything Biden puts forward on infrastructure, the top Republican in the Senate was meeting with reporters in his home state of Kentucky. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Biden’s proposals for …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

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