Infrastructure Gets Big Bipartisan Win in Senate

The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed the Senate on an impressive 69-30 vote on Tuesday, and coverage lauds the two-party breakthrough:

·       The NYT says the bill won “overwhelming bipartisan approval” and that the “uncommonly bipartisan” vote came as 19 Republicans “shrugged off increasingly shrill efforts” by Donald Trump to kill it.

·       The Hill calls it a “major victory” for President Biden “amid broad skepticism that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle could come together.”

·       Politico calls it “an achievement both for Biden and the bipartisan gang of 10 senators who took the lead.”

·       The Arizona Republic calls passage “a major coup” for Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), whose “quest for bipartisanship in an often-gridlocked Washington has drawn intense condemnation from progressives.”

·       Axios says passage was “widely seen as a victory for both parties and the reputation of the Senate, especially given the current level of polarization in Congress.”

·       NPR calls it “a historic piece of legislation that could reshape American lives for decades.”

·       The WaPo’s Paul Waldman writes, “On Tuesday the Senate did something that no one had a right to expect: It passed a significant piece of legislation…with bipartisan support.”

Both Biden and Senate Minority Leader McConnell highlighted the bipartisan nature of the bill. Biden said, “For the Republicans who supported this bill, you showed a lot of courage. And I want to personally thank you for that.”

McConnell told the WSJ, “if you’re going to find an area of potential agreement, I can’t think of a better one than infrastructure, which is desperately needed. … I think the president deserves a lot of credit for getting the Democrats open to reaching a bipartisan agreement on this bill.”

But the real fight lies ahead. The Senate also advanced a $3.5 trillion social spending and climate plan on a party-line vote, and as the NYT reports, House progressives are threatening to withhold support for the infrastructure bill “until the Senate passes [the] second, far larger package containing their spending priorities.”

The House Problem Solvers Caucus is ready for the fight.

Co-Chairs Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) said in a statement, “The Problem Solvers Caucus has worked closely with our Senate allies over these past months to help turn the bipartisan infrastructure framework into legislation. The Senate did its job. Now it’s time to build on this momentum and expeditiously take up the infrastructure bill in the House with a stand-alone bipartisan vote.”

Fitzpatrick told CNN, “We believe this bill is paid for. It does so with no tax increases. It provides a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure. … You have a bipartisan, bicameral, historic investment that is supported by the White House and that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO both support. You don't get those opportunities very often, and we can't let this opportunity pass.”

Getting the two-party bill through the House will be a challenge. But Senate passage seemed unlikely just two months ago. Supporters of this practical solution need to stick together and see it through.

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