How is the GOP wing of the bipartisan infra dig infrastructure contingent taking their exposure as chumps on the morning after? Let’s go to this afternoon’s Politico Playbook PM for an update:
This morning, we reported that Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.), one of the 11 Republicans who supported the bipartisan infrastructure framework, was backing out of the deal over President JOE BIDEN’S insistence that he would not sign the bipartisan deal unless a $3-6 trillion reconciliation bill passed first.
That griping has quickly spread throughout the group.
— Sen. BILL CASSIDY (R-La.) said he felt “blindsided” by the linkage.
— “Demanding that we didn’t pass the bipartisan deal unless reconciliation was passed first was never part of the deal,” said an aide to one of the 11 GOP senators.
— Sen. JERRY MORAN (R-Kan.), another member of the group, now wants to seek assurances from Sens. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) and KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-Ariz.) not to support the reconciliation bill in order for him “to stay onboard.”
Most of the 11 Republican senators met (virtually) this morning at 11 a.m. to plot their next moves. “There was general displeasure and anger,” said a senior GOP aide who listened in.
— Notably, it wasn’t just firebrands like Graham who were upset — in fact, we’re told he was relatively quiet on the call.
— The core trio of moderates — MITT ROMNEY (R-Utah), ROB PORTMAN (R-Ohio) and SUSAN COLLINS (R-Maine) — were particularly incensed about Biden’s comment Thursday that “if this [the bipartisan bill] is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it.”
— Portman, several sources said, was “pissed and disappointed,” and made it clear that while Biden has every right to pursue a reconciliation bill, linking the two pieces of legislation was not part of their deal with the White House.
— The group discussed releasing a joint statement emphasizing that “there were no side deals,” but was awaiting how the White House responded to today’s developments first. The group of GOP senators is scheduled to talk again this afternoon.
Meanwhile, the White House did not explicitly retract Biden’s comments, but in a readout of a call between Biden and Sinema — and at press secretary JEN PSAKI’S briefing — the administration did not repeat Biden’s “I’m not signing it” threat.
Asked if infrastructure were “stuck in a pothole,” Psaki said, “Absolutely not.”
Hey, but whispering Joe whispered in their ear he would still love them in the morning. We will have to stay tuned.