Did Democratic Inaction on Infrastructure Sink McAuliffe?

As Democrats begin to regroup after a loss in Virginia’s gubernatorial race and a much closer-than-expected win in New Jersey, party leaders including President Biden are saying House Democrats’ failure to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill played a role.

According to the AP, the President “said he thought the House should have approved the infrastructure measure before Election Day.” The President told reporters, “People want us to get things done.”

Politico reports, “Democrats insist that passing the infrastructure bill would have helped” nominee Terry McAuliffe. Both senators from McAuliffe’s state agree. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said, “I’ve been saying for literally two months, we needed to show here in Washington that we could govern in a pragmatic way. And the first step of that would have been…getting the bipartisan infrastructure bill to the President’s desk.” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said, “He could have had a really great wind at his back if Democrats had been willing to get the deal done.”

Voters across the nation agree, too. A new No Labels/HarrisX overnight poll shows that 57% of registered voters — including 55% of Democrats — say the House should “hold a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill immediately,” and not “wait until there is an agreement on the social and climate spending package.” In addition, two-thirds of respondents agree with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) that the larger, one-party bill should be delayed “until the costs are fully understood.”

It’s too late for Democrats to “save” McAuliffe by passing infrastructure. But the 2022 midterms are now on the horizon, and it’s clear that voters want them to get it done.

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