“Lost in the swirling debate over the reconciliation package, the budget, and the debt ceiling, is a simple but powerful reality: A historic infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in June with support from both parties, including all the Democrats, has been sitting idle in the House for more than a month.”
So writes Admiral Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence and No Labels Legal Board Member. Blair continues, “That such a bill, already passed by a Senate so frequently blamed for bottling up good ideas, is now stuck in the House is a commentary on what ails our politics most. … Few can even conceive the idea that there might be a bipartisan way forward.”
That bill was initially scheduled to come up for a standalone vote in the House today, thanks to the efforts of the Unbreakable Nine to “delink” it from the multi-trillion-dollar, one-party social spending and climate bill. Speaker Pelosi now says the vote will come on Thursday, because she wants to make sure the votes are there. Pelosi told ABC, “We’re going to pass the bill this week. I’m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes. … You have to go when you have the votes in a reasonable time, and we will.”
Asked on NPR if supporters have the votes to succeed, House Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) said, “We do. … It came out of the Senate in a bipartisan way with 69 votes in the beginning of August. It’s been sitting in the House waiting for action. … The key now is just to get that across the finish line. The country needs this win.”
Great to join @NPRWeekend @nprscottsimon — as we work to get the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill sent to the President's desk — to help create 2M jobs & for climate resiliency — and as we continue our work for a reconciliation package.
— Rep Josh Gottheimer (@RepJoshG) September 26, 2021
As Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) writes on the CNBC website, “If good policy is good politics, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is both. … Making critical investments in roads, bridges, highways, broadband, coastal resiliency, ports, and waterways creates jobs, opportunities and improves the lives of all Americans.”
But as Admiral Blair pointed out, the vital components of this bill that is backed by three out of four Americans have been forgotten due to the media’s focus on process and the minutiae of the legislative process.
“If you’ve found the legislative process surrounding the infrastructure bill frustrating and head scratching, don’t worry,” writes No Labels National Co-Chair Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) in USA Today. “As a governor who operates outside the D.C. bubble, it doesn’t make much sense to me either. … My message for Washington is much simpler than any of their arcane legislative procedures: Just get it done.”
“Ahead of next week’s scheduled vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, my message for Washington is much simpler than any of their arcane legislative procedures: Just get it done.”https://t.co/hrIzQ1SBct
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) September 25, 2021
While President Biden and Pelosi work to win over Democrats, some brave Republicans are publicly saying they will vote for the bill even though their party’s leaders are against it. Problem Solvers Co-Chair Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) said, “We’re hoping it gets across the finish line. It has real hard physical infrastructure. It doesn’t open the tax code up at all.”
This essential bill is supported by voters and legislators of both parties, and if considered solely on its merits, it would pass the House easily. It’s been bogged down in politics and process, but this week offers a chance at clarity. As Hogan said, “Just get it done.”