June 4, 2021

Bipartisan Infrastructure Talks Recall Heated Health Care Summer of 2009

By Jonathan Weisman

1,624 words

Once again, a bipartisan group of senators is seeking to bridge a deep policy divide, but the lesson of failed negotiations on the Affordable Care Act has left Democrats skeptical about an infrastructure deal.

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Refreshed on June 19, 2021 at 6:49:53 am

Headlines and popularity

  1. Summer of 2009 Hangs Over Bipartisan Efforts on Infrastructure
  2. Why the Summer of 2009 Hangs Over Bipartisan Efforts on Infrastructure
  3. Bipartisan Infrastructure Talks Recall Heated Health Care Summer of 2009

Revisions

June 19, 2021 at 6:49 am CHANGED
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  Infrastructure should be far easier than health care, which carries emotional undercurrents, life-or-death implications and the tendency to play one group against others. Support for a scenic highway in Montana could be easily bought with money for mass transit in Manhattan, and in the not-too-distant past, bipartisan bills to build roads, bridges, tunnels and subways have sailed through Congress on huge votes.
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  “Everything in health care, everything is a real trade-off and a zero-sum game. In infrastructure, you just add another bridge,” said Jonathan Selib, who was chief of staff to Max Baucus, the Democratic Finance Committee chairman during the Affordable Care Act negotiations.
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- But in Washington these days, nothing is easy. Republicans and Democrats cannot even agree on a common definition of infrastructure, much less a consensus about how much federal money to invest and how it should be paid for. Talks continued this week between Mr. Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, and both indicated on Friday that they would extend at least into next week, with another conversation scheduled for Monday.
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+ But in Washington these days, nothing is easy. Republicans and Democrats cannot even agree on a common definition of infrastructure, much less a consensus about how much federal money to invest and how it should be paid for.
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- “There’s runway left,” said Jen Psaki, the press secretary. But efforts to find a bipartisan path forward continue to flounder.
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+ Talks continued this week between Mr. Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, with Republicans on Friday inching up by $50 billion the amount of money they may be willing to spend.
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+ But Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Friday afternoon that the latest Republican offer was still not enough to “meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis and create new jobs.” They agreed to meet again on Monday, a decision that led some Democrats to groan.
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+ “This is 2009 and health care all over again,” said Adam Jentleson, who was an aide to Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader that year.
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+ But efforts to find a bipartisan path forward continue to flounder.
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  “Partisan politics are worse now than back in the days of the A.C.A.,” Mr. Baucus said this week, “and they were plenty partisan then.”
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  The template for today’s infrastructure stalemate was set in 2009. Then as now, a small group of senators, Democratic and Republican, were empowered to seek a deal.
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Headlines

  • Bipartisan Infrastructure Talks Recall Heated Health Care Summer of 2009
  • Summer of 2009 Hangs Over Bipartisan Efforts on Infrastructure
  • Why the Summer of 2009 Hangs Over Bipartisan Efforts on Infrastructure

Tags

  • American Jobs Plan (2021)
  • Biden, Joseph R Jr
  • Health Insurance and Managed Care
  • Infrastructure (Public Works)
  • Law and Legislation
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010)
  • United States Politics and Government