The House passed a more than $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, sending it to President Joe Biden for his signature.
The legislation would put $550 billion in new funding into transportation, broadband and utilities.
The bill passed after a last-minute scramble to reach a consensus between progressive and centrists on how to pass the infrastructure package and a larger Democratic social spending plan.
The House passed a more than $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill late Friday, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk in a critical step toward enacting sprawling Democratic economic plans.
The Senate approved the revamp of transportation, utilities and broadband in August. The legislation’s passage is perhaps the unified Democratic government’s most concrete achievement since it approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in the spring.
The measure passed in a 228-206 vote. Thirteen Republicans supported it, while six Democrats voted against it. Biden could sign the bill within days.
Washington has tried and failed for years to pass a major bill to upgrade critical transportation and utility infrastructure, which has come under more pressure from extreme weather. The White House has also contended passage of the bill can help to get goods moving as supply-chain obstacles contribute to higher prices for American consumers.
The vote Friday followed a day of wrangling over how enact the two planks of the party’s agenda. The push-and-pull exemplified party leaders’ months long struggle to get progressives and centrists — who have differing visions of the government’s role in the economy — behind the same bills.
Democrats entered the day planning to pass both the infrastructure legislation and the party’s larger $1.75 trillion social safety net and climate package. A demand from a handful of centrists to see a Congressional Budget Office estimate of the social spending plan’s budgetary effects delayed its approval. Progressives sought assurances the holdouts would support the bigger proposal if they voted for the infrastructure bill.
After hours of talks — and a Biden call into a progressive caucus meeting urging lawmakers to back the infrastructure bill — the party’s liberal wing got assurances from centrists that they would support the larger package. The social and climate plan then cleared a key procedural hurdle early Saturday morning.
Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said the group reached a deal to back the infrastructure plan in exchange for a commitment to take up the safety-net bill “no later than the week of November 15.” A group of five centrists separately issued a statement saying they would back the Build Back Better legislation pending a CBO score that assuages their concerns about long-term budget deficits.
In a statement after the House vote, Biden said the legislation would “create millions of jobs, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st Century.” He also noted that the procedural vote on the second Democratic bill will “allow for passage of my Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives the week of November 15th.”
The House is out of Washington next week, and it could take the CBO days or weeks to prepare a score of the legislation.