Even before Mr Biden closed negotiations with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, on Tuesday, progressive Democrats had warned that Republicans were unlikely to accept spending on fighting climate change.
Mr Biden has now shifted his engagement to a bipartisan group of senators working on their own framework. Although that group hasn’t released any details yet, one of those senators, Lisa Murkowski, Republican from Alaska, said in an interview Wednesday that she was ready to include some climate regulations.
“I think when it comes to infrastructure, it’s really easy – it’s important – to talk about some of the things that will make it possible to reduce emissions,” said Ms. Murkowski, who has worked on climate change legislation in the past. “If you have an updated pipeline, that’s a good thing. If you work efficiently with the new transport system, that’s good. Charging stations, EV, are good. “
Senator Mitt Romney, Republican from Utah, separately said the proposal contained “a number of individual items related to climate change,” but acknowledged that it was more limited than what many Democrats are seeking.
But even if the group can agree on a plan Mr. Biden liked, the group faces several roadblocks, including how it would be funded and whether it could get the 60 votes it takes to become a filibuster to overcome.
It is for this reason that Mr Biden has also spoken with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, to begin work on a draft budget that could allow Democrats to use an accelerated budget process and move infrastructure legislation forward by simple majority.
But that strategy could force the Democrats to either modify or discard key elements to ensure passage. And in order to pass this draft budget, heads of state and government can afford little dissent – especially in the Senate, where all 50 senators who join the Democrats must remain united – which could lead to further changes to accommodate different priorities become.