Judgment day arrives for Biden's theory of Washington: The Note

A key vote on the president's infrastructure bill comes Wednesday.

July 21, 2021, 6:01 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

What Sen. Bernie Sanders wants has never been the same as what Sen. Joe Manchin wants. What Sen. Chuck Schumer wants has not necessarily been the same as what President Joe Biden wants.

What Senate Democrats support may not be what House Democrats can stomach. And what Senate Republicans want is neither monolithic nor irrelevant -- especially not at this moment.

All of that tees up Wednesday's Senate test vote on the bipartisan infrastructure framework, assuming it isn't called off at the last moment.

It's a Schumer- and Biden-backed gambit intended to force action on what would be by far the biggest example of intraparty cooperation in the half-year that Biden has been in office.

PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., looks over his notes as he talks to reporters about a procedural vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal senators brokered with President Joe Biden, at the Capitol in Washington, July 20, 2021.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., looks over his notes as he talks to reporters about his plans for a procedural vote Wednesday on the bipartisan infrastructure deal senators brokered with President Joe Biden, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

It could also go bust. Republicans who are part of the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations are telling Schumer that they need more time, and that no one in their party will vote to proceed to a bill that isn't written yet if the vote is called Wednesday, per ABC News' Trish Turner.

At stake is the $1.2 trillion a group of Senate centrists notionally agreed to spend on infrastructure. Failure, though, could also impact the Democrat-only bill, since its price tag would be nudged upward to accommodate spending that wouldn't happen if the bipartisan bill fails.

Win, lose or delay, Biden will hold a televised town hall late Wednesday in Cincinnati -- at a Catholic university where his presence carries controversy, and in the hometown of Sen. Rob Portman, one of the Republicans involved in infrastructure talks.

The twists and turns aren't being choreographed by the White House. But the road map is unmistakably Biden's, whose commitment to getting members of both parties to work together has been far from universally applauded in Washington.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

As the delta variant continues to spread, more Republican lawmakers are speaking out urging people to get vaccinated.

"These shots need to get into everybody's arm as rapidly as possible or we are going to be back in a situation in the fall, that we don't yearn for, that we went through last year," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday.

GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., who had previously been reluctant to say when he would get the vaccine revealed he's gotten the jab.

"Especially with the delta variant becoming a lot more aggressive and seeing another spike, it was a good time to do it," Scalise said in an interview with The Times-Picayune.

PHOTO: Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, received his first Pfizer shot over the weekend in a handout photo released on July 20,2021.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, received his first Pfizer shot over the weekend in a handout photo released on July 20,2021.
Office of Representative Steve Scalise

The quotes came as the U.S. daily case average has ballooned to nearly 30,000 a day, with Republican-led states Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, Louisiana and Nevada currently leading the pack with the nation's highest case rates.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky also sounded the alarm Tuesday, warning that the delta variant now represents 83% of new U.S. cases. The spike has been fueled by the unvaccinated and the only way to combat the spread, she says, is vaccination.

The TIP with Quinn Scanlan

Despite not having a direct stake in the outcome of next year's midterms, former President Donald Trump continues to play GOP kingmaker for the 2022 primaries.

Rick Scott, the chairman of the Senate Republicans' campaign arm, conceded during a podcast interview Tuesday that "everybody's sort of waiting in Georgia for what's Herschel Walker going to do." Trump has publicly urged the former football superstar -- and his longtime friend -- to get in the race and said in a late June interview Walker told him he would run.

PHOTO: In this May 29, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump, left, and his daughter Ivanka Trump, right, watch as former football player Herschel Walker, center, throws a football on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
In this May 29, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump, left, and his daughter Ivanka Trump, right, watch as former football player Herschel Walker, center, throws a football during White House Sports and Fitness Day on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.
Andrew Harnik/AP, FILE

While Walker has hinted at a bid, he hasn't made it official, freezing the primary in what's expected to be one of the most competitive Senate races of the cycle, competing against a fundraising powerhouse. Four-term Congressman Buddy Carter, who would be a top candidate having also served as a state lawmaker and a mayor in Georgia, explicitly said he's only getting in the race if Trump's handpicked candidate doesn't run.

Then in Wyoming, where Rep. Liz Cheney faces primary challengers and Trump's wrath, the former president seems to be planning to resurrect his "Apprentice" days. In a statement Tuesday, he said he would be meeting with some of her opponents at his golf club in New Jersey next week and plans to make his endorsement decision "in the next few months."

"Remember though, in the end we just want ONE CANDIDATE running against Cheney," he said.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden, who tells us what we need to know about "breakthrough" COVID infections. ABC News' James Longman checks in from Tokyo, where calls to cancel the Olympics are growing louder. And ABC News' Elizabeth Schulze explains what we can learn from President Joe Biden's pick to lead the Department of Justice's antitrust division. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events