The White House has the chance to take a much-needed win on infrastructure, but President Biden risks throwing it away if he doesn’t take control of the situation.
Thursday came and went without a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, amid fevered negotiations at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. You had Speaker Pelosi trying to wrangle votes by forging a compromise between Democratic moderates and progressives on the separate social spending and climate bill while Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was trying to kill the bill altogether.
Meanwhile, the infrastructure bill that easily passed the Senate in August — which on its merits is supported by pretty much every House Democrat and many House Republicans — is being held hostage.
This is no small bill. It would be the…
· Largest investment in public transit in U.S. history
· Largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak was created a half-century ago
· Largest investment in bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system
· Largest investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in U.S. history
· Largest investment in clean energy transmission in U.S. history
It’s time to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill. I’m excited to get these major investments across the finish line for Oregon. pic.twitter.com/h5anH3HbMo
— Rep. Kurt Schrader (@RepSchrader) September 30, 2021
It would be a clear win for the nation, and its passage would be a win for the President and congressional leaders of both parties. Time’s up; just get it done.
House Problem Solvers expressed both frustration and optimism as Thursday turned into Friday.
Today’s outcome is not what we hoped for. But our work is not done.
Tomorrow is another opportunity to unite #ForThePeople and for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
— Chrissy Houlahan (@RepHoulahan) October 1, 2021
It ain’t over yet! This is just one long legislative day — we literally aren’t adjourning. Negotiations are still ongoing, and we’re continuing to work. As I said earlier: grabbing some Gatorade and Red Bull.
— Rep Josh Gottheimer (@RepJoshG) October 1, 2021
Work is set to continue today. Punchbowl says “the White House is now in the game. Put your hands together for the Biden administration, which is now truly working to bridge the gap.” Still, “progressives want the Senate to vote on reconciliation before the House votes on infrastructure,” and have not moved from that position.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), one of the leaders of the successful bipartisan push for the bill in the Senate, said Thursday, “This is good for the country. It is exactly what we ought to be doing around here. It’s a good bill that was done in a bipartisan manner. We would all like it to pass.”
Politico writes, “Upon leaving the Capitol just after midnight, the speaker declared ‘there will be a vote today.’ She said that Thursday too, so we’ll see.”
Minnesota’s Union-Times lauds the Problem Solvers for seeking bipartisan cooperation: “Problem Solvers commit to finding solutions and to listening to those with whom they have differences for the purpose of finding common ground and paths forward to legislation. Respect, courtesy and a commitment to listen and offer true friendship are hallmarks of the caucus. … The Problem Solvers Caucus is modeling a much-needed political behavior. We should voice support for their approach and ask current and potential candidates to tell of their efforts to attain solutions to public problems and needs by working with others who hold different positions on critical issues.”