Kelsey Snell

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Democrats who hoped that narrow control in Washington, D.C., would lead to a rush of votes to approve new progressive policies are facing a major roadblock — moderates in their own party.

Moderate Senate Democrats from Republican-leaning states and swing states are flexing the power that comes along with a 50-50 Senate, where every vote has the potential to make or break a bill.

Updated June 10, 2021 at 7:53 PM ET

A bipartisan group of 10 U.S. senators says they agree on a "framework" for a deal on an infrastructure package, but the members did not release any details and top leaders from both parties have been mostly silent on the development.

According to two sources familiar with the negotiations, the agreement is focused on "core, physical infrastructure." The proposal would cost $1.2 trillion over eight years and include $579 billion in new spending.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Updated June 4, 2021 at 5:59 PM ET

The White House says a new offer on an infrastructure package from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia is insufficient as the search for middle ground between President Biden and Republicans remains elusive.

Biden and Capito spoke on the phone Friday, the latest in a series of talks between the two. Capito is leading the group of GOP senators working with the White House on a potential agreement, and is tasked by her leaders to head the negotiations.

President Biden and Senate Republicans have agreed to continue negotiations on an infrastructure spending plan despite an ongoing split over the scope of the proposal and how to pay for it.

Biden hosted Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the GOP's lead negotiator on infrastructure, at the White House on Wednesday, and the pair agreed to reconvene Friday as the window for a bipartisan deal appears to be narrowing.

The Biden administration aims to have an agreement this summer, and some fellow Democrats are urging the president to wrap up bipartisan talks.

Updated May 27, 2021 at 12:12 PM ET

A group of Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a $928 billion infrastructure proposal to counter President Biden's plan for a nearly $2 trillion bill.

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Congressional Democrats are further expanding the definition of infrastructure with a plan to provide paid leave and family benefits for the vast majority of Americans.

Updated April 22, 2021 at 2:05 PM ET

Senate Republicans have released a $568 billion infrastructure proposal to counter the more than $2 trillion package unveiled by President Biden early this month.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., are introducing legislation Wednesday that would make higher education free for most Americans by imposing new taxes on many Wall Street transactions.

After years of avoiding words such as redistribution and labels such as socialist, the core of the Democratic Party is embracing big government.

The coronavirus pandemic, a changing party makeup and a softening approach to debt and deficit have combined to give Democrats the space to embrace expensive policies and federal government expansion that would have been unheard of a few years ago. President Biden is leading the charge, and many Democrats, not just progressives, are eagerly jumping on board.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For years now, mainstream Democrats have avoided labels like socialist or words like redistribution, but some are now embracing a new era of big government. Here's NPR's Kelsey Snell.

Democrats working to dismantle the filibuster as a major impediment to their legislative agenda say the procedural maneuver is a threat to civil rights.

They are working to reframe the push to abolish the 60-vote procedural hurdle as a fight to protect those rights and follow through on promises Democrats made to voters — particularly Black voters — who helped deliver them the White House and control of the Senate.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is turning the committee best known for writing budgets that never become law into a vetting ground for progressive policy.

Sanders views his new jurisdiction as a broad mandate that "essentially in one way or another, touches the lives of every American." In keeping with that vision, Sanders will introduce a pair of bills on Thursday to restore the corporate tax rate to 35% and add a new progressive tax on the estates of the wealthiest Americans.

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