Democrats passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill

Democrats passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill

The House passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Friday, but did not vote on a much larger, sweeping climate and social spending measure as originally planned.

The result was a major step forward for President Joe Biden’s agenda, but a blow to progressives who’ve long pushed for the two bills to be tied together. Progressives were able to extract a commitment from House moderates to vote for the spending measure by November 15, although that pledge came with an important caveat.

The now successful infrastructure bill passed the House on a bipartisan basis, 228-206, with 13 Republicans voting in favor. The legislation was a compromise between a bipartisan group of lawmakers, includes major investments in roads, water quality, bridges, and broadband. It’s known as BIF — the bipartisan infrastructure framework — since members of both parties have backed it. Because it has already passed the Senate, it now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to become law.

The $1.75 trillion social spending bill, dubbed the Build Back Better Act (BBB), did not receive a vote, however, and won’t be heading to the Senate. It contains historic funding for early childhood education and climate as well as key health care reforms.

The House action followed a chaotic day of back-and-forth over the two votes. Progressives have consistently demanded that votes for the two bills — the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the social spending package — be linked. They feared that moderates, who back BIF, would abandon the spending bill if the infrastructure bill passed first.

To satisfy this demand, Democratic leaders scheduled a vote on both for Friday. This week, however, a group of moderate Democrats including Reps. Kurt Schrader, Stephanie Murphy and Jared Golden, urged a delay for the social spending bill until it received a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) laying out how much it would add to the national debt.

In response to these concerns, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided to keep the infrastructure vote on the books, and delay the vote on the Build Back Better Act until lawmakers could get more information.

Source: Vox