16 votes

Congress passes $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, delivering an important part of Biden's congressional agenda to Americans

14 comments

  1. tvl
    Link
    A good point, I think: https://twitter.com/RichardHanania/status/1456983735165804553

    A good point, I think: https://twitter.com/RichardHanania/status/1456983735165804553

    How will we know whether the $1 trillion infrastructure bill will have worked or not? What metrics should we be looking at?

    China puts forth concrete goals, then you can come back and say it was or wasn't accomplished. Is accountability a completely foreign concept to us?

    10 votes
  2. [13]
    Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    The Democrats who voted no were progressives, mad at moderate democrats for first stalling the bill because they wanted it to be cheaper (as if you can just do that when it comes to rebuilding...

    Congress has passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, delivering on a major pillar of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda after months of internal deliberations and painstaking divisions among Democrats.

    The final vote was 228-206. Thirteen Republicans voted with the majority of Democrats in support of the bill, though six Democrats voted against it.
    The bill now heads to the President's desk to be signed into law, following hours of delays and internal debating among Democrats on Friday, including calls from Biden to persuade skeptical progressive members of the Democratic caucus.

    The Democrats who voted no were progressives, mad at moderate democrats for first stalling the bill because they wanted it to be cheaper (as if you can just do that when it comes to rebuilding decades-old infrastructure and as if taxing the wealthy to pay for it isn't an option.)

    The legislation passed the Senate in August, but was stalled in the House as Democrats tried to negotiate a deal on a separate $1.9 trillion economic package, another key component of Biden's agenda that many Democrats had tied to the fate of the infrastructure bill.

    The legislation that passed Friday night will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America's infrastructure over five years, including money for roads, bridges, mass transit, rail, airports, ports and waterways. The package includes a $65 billion investment in improving the nation's broadband infrastructure, and invests tens of billions of dollars in improving the electric grid and water systems. Another $7.5 billion would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the bill text.

    6 votes
    1. [4]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      That's a pretty reductive take, making it seem as if it was done out of pettiness, but that's not the case at all. From VOX: And as AOC tweeted last month:

      The Democrats who voted no were progressives, mad at moderate democrats for first stalling the bill.

      That's a pretty reductive take, making it seem as if it was done out of pettiness, but that's not the case at all. From VOX:

      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.

      This strategy immediately prompted uproar from progressives, making it appear that the infrastructure vote would fail. Because Democrats have such narrow margins in the House, they can’t afford to lose more than three members on any vote. That gives any group of moderates or progressives the power to hold up legislation.

      Biden intervened Friday night, and with Pelosi, offered progressives and moderates a deal. In exchange for progressive votes for the infrastructure package, moderates would pledge to vote for the spending bill, so long as the Congressional Budget Office — which will lay out how much the measure adds to spending and the deficit — finds the measure’s fiscal impact is as projected.

      The fate of the social spending bill, however, is now uncertain. Moderates are holding out for a score from the Congressional Budget Office before they move forward. And the CBO could find the spending bill would have more than the expected budget deficit impact. In that case, moderates did not say they would commit to voting for the bill, though most of the holdouts did promise to try “to resolve any discrepancies in order to pass the Build Back Better legislation.” Some could conceivably refuse to vote for it at all. In the best-case scenario, a vote on the bill isn’t expected to take place until later this month and then, should it pass, it must still get through the Senate as well.

      Of concern to progressives is whether the spending package will stay alive. Without a concurrent vote on the social spending measure, progressives don’t have much leverage to ensure that it won’t be abandoned entirely.

      Previously, Congressional Progressive Caucus leader Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said that progressives trusted Biden to deliver the support of moderate Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for the bill. Both senators have demanded major cuts and reworking to the spending package over the past few weeks, and Manchin, in particular, has expressed concern about the cost.

      Now, they’ll get a chance to see if moderates in both the House and the Senate actually come through for the legislation, if they’ll continue to whittle it down, or if they will come to oppose it altogether.

      It could take as much as two weeks for the House to get a CBO score on the bill, something the Senate is also waiting on for the budget reconciliation process. The deal struck between progressives and moderates projected CBO data would come by November 15.

      Any delays in getting that score could pose a problem for getting the Build Back Better Act passed before the year is over — or even before next spring, when lawmakers will begin to turn their attention to the 2022 midterm elections.

      Congress will be on recess for two weeks in November and out again in the second half of December. Should the CBO score come in two weeks, lawmakers would receive it right before leaving Washington for the Thanksgiving recess. After returning from that break, lawmakers would have roughly 10 legislative days left before their winter recess to get the bill through the House and Senate.

      Finishing the spending bill is expected to be particularly difficult, given that Democrats haven’t yet agreed on what will be in it. Moderate senators are still pushing back on the size and some provisions in the spending legislation, and have winnowed it down considerably in recent weeks. Progressives in both chambers are working to put provisions that have been stripped out back in, and, as was seen Friday, moderates continue to voice concerns about overall cost.

      Even once the social spending bill passes the House, it will still face a long journey through the Senate. The bill is being advanced through the budget reconciliation process, which allows bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority. Democrats have a one-vote majority, but reconciliation also mandates a bill’s provisions affect the budget.

      The Senate parliamentarian, who rules on what is and isn’t allowed in a reconciliation bill, will need to make a decision on what can and can’t be included in the bill after Democrats finish their internal negotiations and the CBO score is released. After that, again, as part of the reconciliation process, the bill will also have to go through a step known as “vote-a-rama” in which senators can offer amendments to the legislation and potentially alter it even more.

      Once passed in the Senate, it will head back to the House, where lawmakers will need to approve the Senate’s changes.

      It’s also important to remember that the spending bill isn’t the only thing lawmakers need to address. On December 3, if Congress doesn’t take action, the government will default on its debts, triggering a potential global economic crisis. If lawmakers don’t pass more funding for the federal government, it could shut down.

      And if the House fails to advance the social spending bill, Biden’s full agenda — and all the benefits it hopes to bring — won’t come to fruition, either.

      And as AOC tweeted last month:

      We cannot advance legislation that makes the climate crisis worse.

      The Exxon-designed “bipartisan” infrastructure plan worsens emissions, but pairing it w/clean energy in Build Back Better neutralizes BIF’s harm and lets us tackle the climate crisis.

      We cannot afford to gut it.

      14 votes
      1. skybrian
        Link Parent
        This is a good example of how hard it is to interpret votes by members of Congress if you don’t know the political context.

        This is a good example of how hard it is to interpret votes by members of Congress if you don’t know the political context.

        7 votes
      2. [2]
        Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        Oh, I don't want to make it sound like the progressives were the ones in the wrong here, I thought my comment made it clear the Moderates caused trouble first. I edited that to emphasize that the...

        That's a pretty reductive take, making it seem as if it was done out of pettiness, but that's not the case at all.

        Oh, I don't want to make it sound like the progressives were the ones in the wrong here, I thought my comment made it clear the Moderates caused trouble first. I edited that to emphasize that the moderates are being petty, and damaging to the party.

        4 votes
        1. post_below
          Link Parent
          Just a small clarification... no group, faction or side is being petty. They're all serving the financial interests which fund them (or threaten to sink them with funding elsewhere).

          I edited that to emphasize that the moderates are being petty, and damaging to the party.

          Just a small clarification... no group, faction or side is being petty. They're all serving the financial interests which fund them (or threaten to sink them with funding elsewhere).

          1 vote
    2. [9]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [8]
        Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        From another article linked in this article And, from this article: Given the original plan was 3 trillion and how important it is to invest in this stuff, I think we can see why they took a stand.

        Can I get a citation on this?

        From another article linked in this article

        A number of progressives -- who have consistently called for both the infrastructure and the separate economic package, known as the Build Back Better Act, to move together -- voted "no" on the legislation.

        Here are the six House Democrats who broke from their party to vote against the bill:

        Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York
        Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri
        Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
        Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota
        Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts
        Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan

        13 Republicans vote in support

        Thirteen Republicans in the House voted with Democrats to approve the bill. They are:

        Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska
        Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
        Rep. Andrew Gabarino of New York
        Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
        Rep. John Katko of New York
        Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
        Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York
        Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia
        Rep. Tom Reed of New York
        Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey
        Fred Upton of Michigan
        Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey
        Rep. Don Young of Alaska

        And, from this article:

        Frustration throughout the day
        Some House Democrats were angry at the handful of moderates holding up action over demands that the $1.9 trillion bill get a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, a process that could take weeks.
        Rep. Mark Pocan, former chair of the progressive caucus, described today on the Hill colorfully, telling reporters, "Well, the whole day was a clusterf***, right?"
        "Not one of my constituents cares about the CBO," said one member.
        "Everyone is anxious to get this done," another member said. "There's growing frustration that the Blue Dogs keep moving the goal post. Every time we get close, they come up with a new demand." The Blue Dog Coalition is a group of centrist House Democrats.

        Given the original plan was 3 trillion and how important it is to invest in this stuff, I think we can see why they took a stand.

        5 votes
        1. [7]
          babypuncher
          Link Parent
          I understand their objection, but this bill is still much better than no bill. It had literally no chance of passing without at least some bipartisan support. I'll never understand why some people...

          I understand their objection, but this bill is still much better than no bill. It had literally no chance of passing without at least some bipartisan support. I'll never understand why some people would rather just stand back and watch things burn down just because they couldn't get everything they wanted. It's very possible that all the fighting over this bill has weakened our chances of passing the much more progressive budget reconciliation.

          2 votes
          1. [6]
            spctrvl
            Link Parent
            I mean, if progressives are just going to vote yes on any half and quarter measures palatable to moderates, there's no incentive to ever make legislation more progressive. And by making it known...
            • Exemplary

            I mean, if progressives are just going to vote yes on any half and quarter measures palatable to moderates, there's no incentive to ever make legislation more progressive. And by making it known that such cut down legislation is passable, you incentivize centrists to burn time and political capital eviscerating legislation on behalf of their corporate backers. But somehow, it's never on centrists to just accept not getting the bill they want, they're the group that needs to be catered to.

            10 votes
            1. [2]
              babypuncher
              Link Parent
              No one group ever has enough power to pass exactly the legislation they want, but centrists often have the most because they are more closely aligned with the broader electorate than people on the...

              No one group ever has enough power to pass exactly the legislation they want, but centrists often have the most because they are more closely aligned with the broader electorate than people on the edges. Moderate Democrats end up having the power here because they have the ability to negotiate with moderate Republicans and progressive Democrats.

              The only real way out of this is to not only elect more progressive Democrats, but to also whittle Republican numbers down to a level where they can no longer play the obstruction game.

              2 votes
              1. NaraVara
                Link Parent
                Every aspect of the BBB agenda that moderates oppose has greater than 70% support from the electorate even when the polling question is phrased to include the price tag. They don’t have support...

                No one group ever has enough power to pass exactly the legislation they want, but centrists often have the most because they are more closely aligned with the broader electorate than people on the edges.

                Every aspect of the BBB agenda that moderates oppose has greater than 70% support from the electorate even when the polling question is phrased to include the price tag. They don’t have support from the electorate in this, they have support from the donor class. This behavior of theirs is exactly what turns the electorate off of politics.

                9 votes
            2. [3]
              streblo
              Link Parent
              Centrists have more leverage. They can work with moderates across the aisle to pass legislation, while progressives only have one option — working with moderate democrats. If you want more...

              Centrists have more leverage.

              They can work with moderates across the aisle to pass legislation, while progressives only have one option — working with moderate democrats. If you want more progressive bills the solution is to elect more progressive candidates.

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                NaraVara
                Link Parent
                Not in the Senate they can’t. Republicans will not break ranks to work across the aisle in anything. Their agenda is to make it impossible to govern when a Democrat is in charge. Also not true. It...

                They can work with moderates across the aisle to pass legislation

                Not in the Senate they can’t. Republicans will not break ranks to work across the aisle in anything. Their agenda is to make it impossible to govern when a Democrat is in charge.

                while progressives only have one option — working with moderate democrats.

                Also not true. It doesn’t break down cleanly into a single continuum. There are, even today, Republicans who are more liberal on spending than some moderate Democrats. Bernie Sanders actually ends up getting more bipartisan sponsorships on his bills than most. Everyone can work with anyone when interests intersect. The problem comes when the GOP caucus makes a plan to engage in willful legislative sabotage like they’re doing now.

                6 votes
                1. streblo
                  Link Parent
                  Well they helped pass this in the senate. I'm sure making the Democrats appear as non-functional as possible is a goal of theirs but just like everyone else they're also limited by political...

                  Not in the Senate they can’t. Republicans will not break ranks to work across the aisle in anything. Their agenda is to make it impossible to govern when a Democrat is in charge.

                  Well they helped pass this in the senate. I'm sure making the Democrats appear as non-functional as possible is a goal of theirs but just like everyone else they're also limited by political realities. They might prefer passing this legislation vs. making Manchin et al. feel forced into passing more progressive legislation. Maybe they felt passing this and deepening the divide between progressives and moderates was their best outcome. Regardless, saying they will never work across the aisle is clearly wrong.

                  Also not true. It doesn’t break down cleanly into a single continuum.

                  I never claimed it broke down perfectly into a continuum, but nonetheless a continuum does exist. If progressives were a big enough faction to be kingmakers that can deliver bills they would command a lot of power. They're almost there but not quite so their actual power as a voting bloc is limited, especially if the Democrats can grab votes from across the aisle.

                  2 votes