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Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called on President Biden Monday to ensure Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) follow his lead on delinking the bipartisan infrastructure deal from plans to spend trillions more on Democratic priorities.

Why it matters: McConnell has not yet endorsed the $1 trillion bipartisan deal, which Biden struck with five Republican and five Democratic senators last week. His potential opposition could sway other Republican senators and prevent the legislation from winning the 60 votes it needs to pass the Senate.

The big picture: Biden, Schumer and Pelosi all indicated last Thursday that the bipartisan infrastructure deal would not become law unless Congress passed a separate package — via a simple-majority budget reconciliation process — that included Democratic plans for family and climate spending.

  • Senate Republicans claim that Biden's remarks left them "blindsided," putting the bipartisan bill in jeopardy.
  • On Sunday, the president walked back his implied veto threat, but he said Republicans should have "no objections" to him pursuing his agenda on the American Families Plan while also agreeing to the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
  • Pelosi, however, has not clarified her position that the House will not take up the infrastructure bill unless the Senate also passes a reconciliation bill, a massive package that could total in the trillions.

What they're saying: “The President has appropriately delinked a potential bipartisan infrastructure bill from the massive, unrelated tax-and-spend plans that Democrats want to pursue on a partisan basis," McConnell said in a statement.

  • “Unless Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi walk-back their threats that they will refuse to send the president a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless they also separately pass trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism, then President Biden’s walk-back of his veto threat would be a hollow gesture," he added.
  • “Republicans have been negotiating in bipartisan good faith to meet the real infrastructure needs of our nation. The President cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process.”

Go deeper: Senators welcome Biden's infrastructure walk-back

Go deeper

Senate GOP pushes DOJ to roll back Trump oversight rule

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Republicans want the Justice Department to roll back Trump-era restrictions on congressional oversight criticized at the time as an attempt to insulate the Trump administration from Democratic investigators, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: While some Republicans spoke out against the DOJ guidance at the time, it was mostly Democrats who attacked it as a constitutionally dubious effort to scuttle congressional oversight. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and the GOP is making similar arguments with Biden in the White House.

Sep 24, 2021 - Health

Manchin: "We need to stabilize" Medicare before expanding

Sen. Joe Manchin. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Thursday that Democrats "need to stabilize" Medicare before expanding the program, The Hill reports.

Why it matters: Progressives are hoping to expand Medicare through a broad social spending bill, which Democratic senators have urged Manchin to support. Manchin's vote is critical in passing any Democratic bill in the 50-50 Senate.

30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.