President Joe Biden’s sit-down on Wednesday with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and other congressional leaders comes as the White House accelerates its efforts to reach a bipartisan infrastructure agreement — or at least aims to show it’s trying. But McConnell is plainly stating in advance that he’s not interested in the plan as proposed.
The president’s meeting with McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is the first formal gathering of the “big four” congressional leaders since the president took office — a late start after a tumultuous new year. But the timing is crucial for White House’s outreach on Biden’s two-pronged $4 trillion American jobs and families plans.
At the center are Biden and McConnell, two stalwarts of the Senate who have traded expressions of friendship but whose ability to find political common ground seems limited. In a Washington controlled by Democrats by the slimmest of margins, it’s unclear if they actually need each other to accomplish their political goals.