House passes $1-trillion infrastructure package

UniqueThis 17 November 5, 2021
WASHINGTON — 

The House passed a historic $1-trillion infrastructure package Friday night and planned to vote to allow formal debate on their larger social spending and climate bill, a show of progress on President Biden’s agenda after months of division between centrists and progressives.

A planned final vote on the larger social spending bill was scuttled because a group of moderates — enough to block the measure — refused to support it until they had an official estimate of its economic cost.

The successful vote on the infrastructure bill, which was approved 228 to 206, marks a badly needed show of momentum for Biden’s agenda, which has suffered setbacks because of a deep level of mistrust between centrists and progressives on Capitol Hill.

The vote came about Friday after a grueling week for Democrats in which their gubernatorial candidate lost in Virginia and frustrations over the slowing negotiations on Capitol Hill boiled over.

There was a growing sense among rank-and-file members that they needed to move forward on the bills after two prior attempts to schedule the votes failed.

For weeks, progressives blocked a vote on the infrastructure bill as leverage to ensure the Senate took strong action on the social spending bill. On Friday, progressives agreed to pass the infrastructure bill alone, mindful of the risk if they held out for too much.

“What am I going to do, you know — continue to drag this out?” said Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). “The risk of doing nothing, to me, is more profound than the sequence” of votes.

The $1-trillion infrastructure bill, which the Senate approved in August, will go to Biden’s desk for his signature. A White House spokesperson said Friday that Biden would sign it.

The infrastructure effort began in late March, when Biden announced plans to push for a major package, something that had eluded several of his predecessors.

For months, Biden and Senate Republicans negotiated a roads-and-bridges plan, allowing the president to flex the bipartisan bona fides he championed on the campaign trail.

Thirteen House Republicans joined Democrats on Friday in supporting the infrastructure bill. Six House Democrats voted against it.

While the infrastructure bill makes up only a portion of Biden’s agenda, it marks a huge new infusion of money. Infrastructure spending as a share of gross domestic product in the next five years will be about 1.5%, compared with 1.36% during the New Deal years, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of Office of Management and Budget data.

The bill addresses a wide range of infrastructure deficiencies and will expand the availability of broadband internet throughout the country.

About $110 billion will go to roads, bridges and other major surface transportation projects. Passenger rail will get $66 billion, public transit will get $39 billion, and safety programs for highways and pedestrian walkways will get $11 billion. About $55 billion will go to expanding access to clean drinking water.

While Democrats hailed the successful infrastructure vote, the achievement is largely overshadowed by the long and messy process of writing the social spending measure.

Congressional Democrats and Biden said Friday that they would move the bill through the House the week of Nov. 15. But disagreements over key issues like paid leave and immigration will need to be sorted out as the bill moves to the Senate.

While most major pieces of legislation suffer fits and starts during the legislative sausage making, the frenetic negotiation over these bills has been particularly fraught, a reflection of the slim three-vote margin House Democrats hold.

The delay of the social spending vote in the House means it may not be able to get through the Senate until well into December.

With fear of a year-end negotiation in mind, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who hold significant political sway, urged Pelosi on Friday to hold the two votes as a show of progress. Moderates would only agree to that if the infrastructure vote was first, according to Democratic sources.

Though progressives allowed the infrastructure bill to pass before the social spending bill was done, they remain worried that moderate Democrats won’t support the current $1.85-trillion package.

With Biden helping over the phone, the centrist and progressive camps hatched a deal in which centrists agreed in writing to support the social spending bill in a floor vote the week of Nov. 15 as long as the official cost estimate matches expectations.

While the requirement that the cost must match the White House’s estimate leaves some wiggle room to not vote for the bill, the five centrists, including Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), said they would work to resolve any differences.

The statement is intended to assure progressives that the social spending bill will get through the House.

Biden telephoned into a multi-hour meeting of the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Friday and asked for its support, “subject to some assurances and commitments [from moderates] that he was working to get,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) said before the deal was agreed to. “He’s working very hard to get everybody there.”

Biden has repeatedly promised progressives that he will deliver the votes in the Senate.

There is plenty of reason for progressives to be nervous. Centrist Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have already forced progressive priorities to be trimmed from the bill and have not publicly committed to supporting the latest version.

Times staff writer Nolan D. McCaskill contributed to this report.


U.S. adds just 194,000 jobs in September; Annual yard sale funds woman's random acts of kindness
0 comments
An investigation into the timeline of the events which led to the spill is underway.
0 comments
As India's brutal second coronavirus wave ravaged the country this spring, Ankit Srivastava went from hospital to hospital, trying to find help for his ailing mother.
0 comments
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Friday warned President Joe Biden he should not expect cooperation on raising the debt ceiling again, a day after he voted with Democrats to overcome a&h...
0 comments
Seven Senate Republicans defied former President Donald Trump by voting to convict him for inciting an insurrection after losing the 2020 election. But eight months later, they're largely respondin...
0 comments
The best Dyson air purifier deals will help you grab a bargain on models that usually boast a notoriously premium price.
0 comments
With these common air purifier myths debunked, you’ll have a better understanding of how they work to remove airborne particles.
0 comments
Apparently, HBO's drunk robot show is filming another run of episodes. Here's everything we know.
0 comments
Kanye West got no VIP treatment at the airport.
0 comments
MLB announcer Jim Kaat is apologizing for making a slavery reference during Yoán Moncada's at-bat on Friday.
0 comments
R. Kelly victim Faith Rodgers says he was not railroaded and threatened her for coming out against him.
0 comments
MILAN -- With Italy’s vaccination campaign now advanced, the government has finally given the green light for nightclubs to reopen next week. It’s been a long wait.Glasses remain stacked upside dow...
0 comments
A peeling portrait of Polish piano composer Frederic Chopin purchased at a flea market hung modestly in a private house in Poland for almost three decades before an expert dated the painting to the...
0 comments
A new lava flow has belched out from the La Palma volcano, and it threatens to spread more destruction on the Atlantic Ocean island where molten rock streams have already engulfed over 1,000 buildings
0 comments
Learn which types of produce are in season this October and what to cook with them! You'll find plenty of healthy seasonal recipes here.
0 comments
The White House has informed the National Archives that it is not asserting executive privilege on an initial batch of documents related to the January 6 violence at the US Capitol, paving the way ...
0 comments
Why "Ted Lasso's" Rebecca and Keeley are among TV's best female friends of all-time, Apple TV's "Acapulco," and the skits we'd love to see as Kim Kardashian is set to host "Saturday Night Live."
0 comments
Gov. Inslee receives some choice words from a state trooper signing off ahead of Monday.
0 comments
Hooters has caved on the new pantie bottoms they wanted their girls to wear.
0 comments
The British spy who collected the "pee tape" intel speaks out publicly.
0 comments
The couple that's been all about each other are going to be man and wife!
0 comments
The veteran TV actor talks all the details about 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'You,' from making television during the pandemic to keeping his big return to 'Grey's' under wraps.
0 comments
The hotly anticipated return of the singer led to tears, personal confessions, and memes.
0 comments
Wondering what the benefits of yoga are? Read on to discover the answers.
0 comments
Perfect for every skill level and budget, these are the best microscopes for kids right now
0 comments
It went down 66 million years ago.
0 comments
Can we save Earth by bombing space?
0 comments
“As soon as this work project gets done.” “As soon as we get more settled in.” “As soon as I’m done planning this event.” “As soon as the kids are older.” How commonly do we offer these postponemen...
0 comments
Amid mounting pressure from players and advocacy groups, Major League Baseball will require teams to provide housing for minor league players starting in 2022, it was announced.
0 comments
Outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. can't help his Braves teammates on the field as he recovers from knee surgery, but he was on the field before Sunday's Game 2 of the NLCS, embracing his role as cheerlea...
0 comments
Garrett Temple and the New Orleans Pelicans, who've said that the upcoming "season is dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Ida," practiced Saturday at Nicholls State University in the torn town of...
0 comments
With head coach Kliff Kingsbury back home in Arizona after a positive COVID-19 test, the Cardinals kept their offense on track in a dominating 37-14 win over the Cleveland Browns on the road on Sun...
0 comments
Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, who will undergo an MRI Monday for a right calf injury he suffered on his game-winning touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb Sunday in overtime against New England, believe...
0 comments
Danny "D.J." Rodriguez, who was arrested after he was identified in a HuffPost story, called himself a "f**king piece of s**t" during his interview with the FBI.
0 comments
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin said the GOP senator "never used to be this insane."
0 comments
Persistent concerns about Aduhelm, the disease's first new treatment in about 20 years, are curbing access more than four months after regulators approved it.
0 comments
Loading...