- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 29, 2021

Former President Donald Trump rebuked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday for helping advance the White House’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

Mr. Trump, who many still view as the leader of the Republican Party, said Mr. McConnell’s support for the deal was just the latest example of how the Kentucky Republican “doesn’t fight” for his party.

“Under the weak leadership of Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans continue to lose,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “Now he’s giving Democrats everything they want and getting nothing in return.

The former president’s remarks came one day after the Senate passed a crucial test vote on President Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure legislation. In the 67-32 vote, the chamber approved a motion to begin debate on the framework, although it was finalized only hours earlier.

Mr. McConnell and 16 other Republicans joined all 50 Senate Democrats in backing the measure, ensuring it cleared the 60-vote hurdle needed to overcome a filibuster.

The majority of Republicans, however, voted against the package. Most did so because Democratic leaders have pledged to move the infrastructure deal in tandem with a $3.5 trillion social welfare bill.

The bigger legislation, which is packed with liberal priorities, is set to pass without Republican votes in a process known as budget reconciliation, which allows some spending and tax measures to avoid the 60-vote threshold and pass with 51 votes.

Sen. Bernard Sanders, the self-described socialist from Vermont who is chairman of the Budget Committee, directly linked the fate of the two bills Wednesday.

“It is my absolute conviction that you’re not going to have a bipartisan bill unless you have a reconciliation bill of $3.5 trillion,” he said. “The working families of this country, the children of this country, the elderly people of this country deserve to have their needs met, and we intend to do just that.”

Mr. Trump, however, is urging Republicans to oppose both packages, arguing that Democrats win either way.

“No deal is better than a bad deal,” the former president said. “Fight for America, not for special interests and radical Democrats. RINOs are ruining America, right alongside communist Democrats.”

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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