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Group Of Republicans Join Pelosi And Democrats To Pass Infrastructure Bill

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


President Joe Biden has been bailed out by Republicans who have helped him save face and pass his infrastructure plan.

There were 13 Republican members of the House of Representatives that joined House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats in passing the $1.2 trillion bill in a 228-206 vote, CNBC reported.

The 13 Republicans who voted with the Democrats are Reps. John Katko, Don Bacon, Jeff Van Drew, Fred Upton, Adam Kinzinger, Don Young, Tom Reed, Chris Smith, Andrew Garbarino, Nicole Malliotakis, Brian Fitzpatrick, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, and Rep. David McKinley.

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The bill came together after moderate Democrats, who had not been able to get on the same page with progressives, agreed that they would vote on the massive Build Back Better reconciliation bill after they received a score from the Congressional Budget Office, no later than November 15.

“Tonight, members of the Progressive Caucus and our colleagues in the Democratic Caucus reached an agreement to advance both pieces of President Biden’s legislative agenda,” Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal said. “Our colleagues have committed to voting for the transformative Build Back Better Act, as currently written, no later than the week of November 15. All of our colleagues have also committed to voting tonight on the rule to move the Build Back Better Act forward to codify this promise.”

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.

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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.

And Biden asked Democrats to get together to pass his Build Back Better bill, which continues to face opposition to the spending package.

“Tonight, we took a monumental step forward as a nation,” he said in a statement on Friday.

“The United States House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill that will 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.

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“It will create good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. Jobs that will transform our transportation system with the most significant investments in passenger and freight rail, roads, bridges, ports, airports, and public transit in generations,” the president said.

“This will make it easier for companies to get goods to market more quickly and reduce supply chain bottlenecks now and for decades to come. This will ease inflationary pressures and lower costs for working families.

“The bill will create jobs replacing lead water pipes so every family can drink clean water,” he said.

“It will make high-speed internet affordable and available everywhere in America.

“This bill will make historic and significant strides that take on the climate crisis. It will build out the first-ever national network of electric vehicle charging stations across the country. We will get America off the sidelines on manufacturing solar panels, wind farms, batteries, and electric vehicles to grow these supply chains, reward companies for paying good wages and for sourcing their materials from here in the United States, and allow us to export these products and technologies to the world,” he said.

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“It will also make historic investments in environmental clean-up and remediation, and build up our resilience for the next superstorms, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes that cost us billions of dollars in damage each year.

“I’m also proud that a rule was voted on that will allow for passage of my Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives the week of November 15th, the president said.

“The Build Back Better Act will be a once-in-a-generation investment in our people.

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“It will lower bills for healthcare, child care, elder care, prescription drugs, and preschool. And middle-class families get a tax cut,” he said.

“This bill is also fiscally responsible, fully paid for, and doesn’t raise the deficit. It does so by making sure the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share and doesn’t raise taxes a single cent on anyone making less than $400,000 per year.

“I look forward to signing both of these bills into law.

“Generations from now, people will look back and know this is when America won the economic competition for the 21st Century,” he said.

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