- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 23, 2021

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernard Sanders said Sunday that Democrats will probably end up ditching bipartisan talks on infrastructure and will try to muscle a package through with or without GOP votes.

“That’s probably right, and I think that’s what the American people want,” Mr. Sanders, Vermont Independent, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“We would like bipartisanship, but I don’t think we have a seriousness on the part of the Republican leadership to address the major crises facing this country,” said Mr. Sanders, a self-described “democratic socialist.” “And if they’re not coming forward, we’ve got to go forward alone.”

President Biden is holding out hope for a bipartisan deal, but White House adviser Cedric Richmond said on CNN Sunday Mr. Biden is prepared to change tactics if he needs to in order to force action.

White House negotiators presented a $1.7 trillion counter-offer on an infrastructure package to Senate Republicans on Friday after the Senate GOP had offered a $568 billion ante last month.

The price tag is down from Mr. Biden’s original $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, which he wants to fund by approving corporate tax hikes that the GOP says should be off-limits.

If Democrats go it alone, Mr. Sanders will play a central role as budget committee chairman in helping unlock a fast-track tool that allows lawmakers to sidestep the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the 50-50 Senate.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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