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- 46th and current president of the United States
WASHINGTON -The House passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill late Friday night in a vote of 228-206. That approves the largest transportation spending package in U.S. history.
The legislation — a core Biden administration priority — passed the Senate in August and now heads to the president for his signature.
It had been held up for months as Democratic progressives and moderates sparred over the fate of Biden's $1.85 trillion Build Back Better legislation that seeks to expand social safety net programs and climate change initiatives. But both sides reached a deal Friday that allowed the infrastructure bill to reach the floor and win passage (a victory for moderates) while Democratic leaders pledged the larger bill will get a vote later this month (a victory for progressives).
Thirteen Republicans voted for the measure while six Democrats – all progressives – voted against it.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would direct nearly $550 billion in new spending over five years to modernize roads, bridges and transit systems while expanding high-speed internet systems and the nation's network of electric vehicle charging stations. The remaining $650 billion would come from existing levies, such as the gas tax.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the legislation “transformative” and “historic” earlier Friday.
The Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill – which is aimed at improving the nation's highways, broadband internet and airports – in August. If it passes the House Friday, it will be sent to Biden's desk to be signed into law.
Biden originally pitched a $3.5 trillion budget bill, but the president and progressives had to scale back the budget spending bill to appease moderate Senate Democrats Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. However, the two senators have not publicly supported the proposal the House expects to take up Friday, suggesting possible changes in the legislation should it pass the House and go to the Senate.
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Progressives are currently holding a current caucus meeting over leadership’s scheduled vote on the bipartisan infrastructure vote.
They have maintained they do not want to vote on the infrastructure bill without also passing Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which moderates delayed a vote for due to a lack of a Congressional Budget Office score.
According to a House Democratic aide, Biden has called Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, to try to rally progressives to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Rep .Jared Huffman, D-Calif., told reporters Friday evening Biden called into the meeting on speakerphone and said “He's working very hard to get everybody there and urged us to work in that same spirit.”
Without their votes, the legislation is unlikely to pass, as there is little probability enough Republicans would vote to fill the gap.
A White House official told USA TODAY, "The President is speaking with House leadership, progressives, and moderates in an effort to come to a solution. And he has been urging a vote tonight."
– Savannah Behrmann
What’s in the bipartisan infrastructure bill?
The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure legislation is one the White House has touted as “the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act puts $42 billion towards airports, waterways and port infrastructure, and invests $110 billion into roads and bridges, as more than 45,000 bridges nationwide are rated in poor condition.
The bill focuses largely on public transit, putting $39 billion towards repairing and upgrading transit systems, and making stations more accessible to elderly and passengers with disabilities. It would pump $66 billion into Amtrak for passenger and freight rail, aiming to eliminate Amtrak’s maintenance backlog and to modernize the Northeast corridor. The bill would also invest $7.5 billion for charging stations for electric vehicles and $7.5 billion for electric buses.
It would also spend $65 billion on expanding broadband internet access. The White House estimates as many as 40 million Americans lack broadband access. The legislation would put $65 billion into rebuilding the electric grid with renewable energy and thousands of miles of new power lines, $55 billion to upgrade water systems, with a goal of replacing the country’s lead service pipes.
– Savannah Behrmann
McCarthy: GOP support on bipartisan infrastructure bill dwindling
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters Friday that GOP support for the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal was dwindling, and there may be just a few Republican votes in support. He says that is due to that bill being tied with Democrats' larger $1.85 trillion spending bill of liberal policies.
Democrats are pursuing votes Friday on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the spending bill to appease progressives in the party who insisted they happen simultaneously. No Republicans are expected to support the budget bill.
McCarthy said that tactic would drive away any Republican votes for the bipartisan infrastructure legislation: "They're bringing it up as one bill." The bipartisan infrastructure bill passed out of the Senate in August with 19 Republican senators voting for it.
Last week, a House aide familiar with the negotiations told USA TODAY last week there were upwards of 10 Republicans that would vote for a bipartisan infrastructure vote if a vote were to happen then.
– Savannah Behrmann
What’s in the Build Back Better bill?: Child care and family leave initiatives
President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act include subsidized child care options and a four-week family leave proposal.
The plan would provide free universal preschool would to all 3- and 4-year-olds, an expansion the Biden administration says will include more than 6 million children. That program would be funded for six years under a $400 billion line item that also includes money for expanded child care benefits.
The 12-week paid family and medical leave proposal was taken out last week as part of the negotiations to scale back the price of the original $3.5 trillion plan to $1.85 trillion.
However, after an uproar from those within Democratic caucus and advocacy groups, leadership reinstated paid family and medical leave in the legislation, though it was scaled back to four weeks.
– Savannah Behrmann
Biden tells House to vote ‘right now’ on infrastructure, social-spending plans
President Joe Biden on Friday urged House members to vote “right now” for his $1.85 trillion domestic spending agenda and $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan as Democratic leadership prepare to take up both bills later Friday after months of negotiations.
"I'm asking every House member, every member of the House of Representatives, to vote ‘yes’ on both these bills right now,” Biden said. “Send the infrastructure bill to my desk. Send the Build Back Better bill to the Senate."
Biden, who made the appeal while delivering remarks on a strong new jobs report, said he planned to return to the White House to make calls to lawmakers to urge passage of his signature pieces of legislation.
For weeks, progressive House Democrats have held up passage of the infrastructure package, which cleared the Senate with bipartisan support in August, until the Senate approves Biden’s more expansive “Build Back Better” bill, which includes universal preschool, subsidized childcare, home caregiving, climate initiatives and other progressive priorities.
– Joey Garrison
Analysis says Biden's spending plan is unlikely to add to deficit
The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation released its initial analysis of Democrats’ spending bill the House aims to vote on Friday, finding it would raise $1.48 trillion in revenue over a decade.
It also said President Joe Biden's plan would be unlikely to add to the deficit long term.
But a group of Democratic House moderates want a Congressional Budget Office score to be released on the legislation before they vote on it Friday. That score would similarly analyze the effect the legislation might have on revenue.
The group includes at least Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, and Stephanie Murphy of Florida. Golden told reporters Friday that without a CBO score, he would vote against the bill. Gottheimer and Murphy echoed those sentiments Thursday.
A House Democratic aide familiar with the process told USA TODAY a CBO score is weeks away.
– Savannah Behrmann
What’s in the Build Back Better bill?: A look at climate provisions
Democrats have touted the climate provisions in their budget spending bill they’re pushing to pass in the House Friday. The proposal includes $320 billion to expand tax credits over the next decade for utility and residential clean energy, clean passenger and commercial vehicles, and clean energy manufacturing.
It also includes $105 billion in "resilience" programs to ward off and prepare for extreme weather events such as wildfires and hurricanes made worse by climate change. And it creates a Civilian Climate Corps designed to deploy a force of young workers to help communities address the threat of climate change.
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Some climate aspects in Biden's original proposal were taken out to appease some moderates, including a $150 billion program that would have required electricity suppliers that do not transition fast enough to clean energy (4% increase per year) to pay a penalty.
The vote on the legislation, which has some of the most aggressive climate initiatives in modern history, would come just days after President Joe Biden emerged from the United Nations' COP26 climate summit in Scotland, where he touted the proposal as "the most significant investment to deal with the climate crisis that any advanced nation has made, ever."
– Savannah Behrmann
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Live updates: House passes historic $1.2 trillion infrastructure legislation