Home Uncategorized Democrats pass Joe Biden’s $1tn infrastructure bill after chaotic day

Democrats pass Joe Biden’s $1tn infrastructure bill after chaotic day


Democrats pass Joe Biden’s $1tn infrastructure bill after chaotic day

US politics

Democrats pass Joe Biden’s $1tn infrastructure bill after chaotic day

Intense lobbying helped break an impasse between progressives and moderates

House speaker Nancy Pelosi with majority whip James Clyburn and majority leader Steny Hoyer prior to the passing of the Democrats’ infrastructure bill.

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A plan to advance both pieces of legislation was upended by pushback from about half a dozen centrists, who demanded an official accounting of the spending bill, which had undergone substantial changes in recent weeks. Before giving their support, these lawmakers wanted to first see a cost analysis from the CBO, which could take weeks.

As tensions escalated throughout the day, Pelosi proposed a new strategy. In a letter to Democrats, she announced the House would hold two votes on Friday: one on the infrastructure measure and a procedural vote related to the spending package.

The change of course infuriated progressives, who had for months said they would not vote for the infrastructure bill without a simultaneous vote on the spending package. That position derailed two previous attempts to advance the infrastructure bill first.

“If our six colleagues still want to wait for a CBO score, we would agree to give them that time – after which point we can vote on both bills together,” Jayapal suggested in a statement earlier on Friday.

Unexpected losses in Virginia and elsewhere across the country earlier this week injected a sense of urgency into the deliberations, with Democrats eager to prove they could govern a year after voters gave them control of the White House and Congress.

With razor-thin majorities, Democrats need the support of every Democratic senator and nearly every House member. After accepting that she did not have the votes to advance both bills on Friday, Pelosi said the House would vote on the spending bill after the CBO figures are provided, in time, she hoped, for Congress to deliver a “Thanksgiving gift for the American people”.

Negotiations have seen the initial Biden spending proposal nearly halved from $3.5tn, with many provisions pared back or dropped entirely.

Biden, touting a strong monthly jobs report on Friday, implored House Democrats to “vote yes on both these bills right now”, arguing both pieces of legislation were critical to economic recovery.

“Passing these bills will say clearly to the American people, ‘We hear your voices, we’re going to invest in your hopes,” Biden said on Friday morning.

After his remarks, the president said he was returning to the Oval Office to “make some calls” to lawmakers.

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Pelosi worked furiously throughout the day, hosting rounds of meetings with lawmakers, to pave the way for a vote before lawmakers leave Washington for a week-long recess, whipping members on the House floor and keeping them late into the night in an effort to shore up support for legislation that runs to more than 2,000 pages.

Progress on Biden’s agenda comes at a particularly difficult moment for the president. His approval ratings have slumped amid concerns over rising inflation, an unshakable pandemic and a harried withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden departed for a pair of international summits without securing progress on domestic agenda, only to be met upon his return by news of his party’s poor showing in races across the country on Tuesday.

In Virginia, a state he won by 10 points in 2020, Republicans won the governor’s race, and came much closer than expected to denying the Democratic governor of New Jersey a second term. The grim results helped jolt Democrats into action on Capitol Hill, where leaders hope enacting their ambitious agenda will help the party regain momentum and improve their electoral prospects ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

The public works measure passed on Friday, substantial in its own right, passed the Senate in August with 19 Republican votes, including Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell.

Democrats celebrate on the House floor approving the $1tr package.

The five-year spending package provides $110bn in funding to upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges and highways; $39bn to modernise public transit, expanding the transportation systems and making it more accessible for people with disabilities, and $65bn to improve broadband access for Americans in rural areas, low-income families and tribal communities. It also includes provisions aimed at helping fortify the nation’s response to the climate crisis by building electric vehicle charging stations, modernising the electric grid and boosting carbon capture technologies.

If passed, the spending bill will go to the 50-50 Senate, where it will face new challenges. Two centrist Democrats, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, have already thwarted many progressive initiatives and are expected to have further objections.

The months-long legislative battle has seen the initial spending proposal nearly halved from $3.5tn, with many provisions pared back or dropped entirely.

As drafted, the package would spend $1.85tn over 10 years to dramatically expand the nation’s social safety net, providing Americans assistance with the rising costs of healthcare, child care and at-home elderly care. Medicare would be expanded to cover hearing aids while another provision would lower the cost of prescription drugs. At the heart of the sprawling legislation are plans to hasten the transition away from fossil fuels and limit planet-warming carbon emissions by incentivising electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines – all of which amounts to the largest US investment in clean energy.

To satisfy a range of policy demands, House Democrats added key initiatives that may ultimately be stripped out by the Senate, including a paid family leave program and work permits for immigrants. The White House has argued that the plan would be fully paid for by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.


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  • Joe Biden
  • House of Representatives
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Published at Sat, 06 Nov 2021 05:36:50 +0000


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