Democratic senator says Mitch McConnell may ‘pull the football out’ from Democrats on infrastructure

Tim Kaine
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

  • Sen. Tim Kaine compared McConnell to the Peanuts character Lucy who yanks the football from Charlie Brown.
  • “It’s not unlike him to sometimes pull the football out when the kicker is just about to kick it,” Kaine told Politico.
  • McConnell is urging Biden to ensure congressional Democrats follow his lead, jeopardizing infrastructure.
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Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia offered an analogy to the “Peanuts” comic strip on Monday, comparing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to the character “Lucy” who always yanks a football away from “Charlie Brown” at the last second.

“It’s not unlike him to sometimes pull the football out when the kicker is just about to kick it. I’ve seen him do that before,” Kaine told Politico. “And I know that that’s sometimes more frustrating for the Republicans than it is for the Dems. He’s pretty inscrutable.”

Republicans have sometimes been accused of trying to pull a bait-and-switch with Democrats on immigration and infrastructure, promising backing for bipartisan measures that ultimately never materializes.

Kaine also told reporters that Democrats are starting to assemble an up to $6 trillion party-line package which will move through Congress using an arduous path called budget reconciliation. That allows Democrats to muscle through a separate package focused on childcare, climate change, and healthcare without Republican votes.

On Monday, McConnell demanded that President Joe Biden ensure Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi follow his lead and sever any link between the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal and the reconciliation package. The latter measure can clear the Senate with a simple majority.

“The President cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process,” he said in a statement.

Democrats are likely to trigger the party-line process in mid-July once they return from a two-week recess. But they’re clashing on both price tag and scope. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said on Sunday he would support up to a $2 trillion economic package that’s fully paid for and doesn’t grow the national debt.

Manchin’s position will likely frustrate progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They’re pressing for a huge spending package that includes aggressive measures to combat climate change, tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy, along with Medicare expansion.

“I think the key for progressives is as long as Dems are willing to act by reconciliation for the pieces we couldn’t get, that’s great,” Kaine told reporters on Thursday, adding that a range of climate and immigration provisions could end up in a Democratic-only package.

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