“Congress Is About to Do Something Big”

“Congress is about to do something big in a bipartisan fashion,” the WaPo’s Amber Phillips says. The Senate will vote at 11:00 a.m. to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, providing “the first bipartisan win of the Biden administration, and it will be the first major bipartisan legislation to pass since the 2020 coronavirus relief packages.”

The bill, which is expected to win as many as 20 GOP votes including that of Minority Leader McConnell, is:

•           The largest investment in public transit in U.S. history

•           The largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak was created a half-century ago

•           The largest investment in bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system

•           The largest investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in U.S. history

•           The largest investment in clean energy transmission in U.S. history

Punchbowl says, “Getting this $1 trillion bill through the Senate seemed very unlikely two months ago, but it’s about to happen.”

But while the Senate win is a great success for supporters of two-party solutions, final passage is at risk in the House, where pragmatic Republicans will face intense pressure — and threats of primary challenges in their 2022 elections  — to oppose the bill.

Donald Trump has been attacking the bill, even though it mirrors some of his own infrastructure priorities. Philip Bump of the WaPo writes, “Trump’s case against the bill is essentially 100 percent political — warning that Republicans are giving Biden a bipartisan win, without objecting to any of the particulars.” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said of Trump, “He didn’t give one reason it’s a bad deal, other than it’s Joe Biden’s.”

Vox says Trump “is having remarkably little sway over how Senate Republicans are voting on infrastructure.” But he could be more influential in the House, where every member is up for re-election next year.

But there’s a lot to like for Republicans — and their voters — in the bipartisan bill. Our recent No Labels poll found solid majorities — as high as 75% — in favor in 16 key House districts held by Republicans. It’s pro-business legislation backed by both major business groups and influential unions. It will create millions of jobs over the course of the next decade.

It’s also not a budget-buster. A Wharton School study concluded that the legislation will actually reduce the federal debt over time by growing the economy.

That’s why more than one-third of Senate Republicans — including conservatives like Cramer and Commerce Committee ranking member Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) — have backed the bill, which will provide essential upgrades in all parts of the nation. That’s good for the country, and good for any legislator eyeing re-election.

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