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President Biden on Saturday welcomed the passage of what he called a “long overdue” infrastructure bill after it passed the House with Republican votes a day earlier – and said “we don’t do what to start”.
“Friends, yesterday I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to suggest that we took a monumental step forward as a nation,” Biden said clearly elated at a press conference.
BIDEN, DEMOCRATS CELEBRATE AFTER 1.2T INFRASTRUCTURE BILL PASS – DESPITE SOME ‘NO’ VOTES
The $1.2 trillion bill passed late Friday 228-206 after days of wrangling among Democratic leaders trying to secure the votes of progressives – who wanted it coupled with a bill separate spending of $1.75 trillion. Democrats and the White House said the bill includes much-needed investments in public transit, roads and bridges, and job creation.
In the end, six progressive Democrats voted against, including team members such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was rescued by 13 Republicans, many of them retiring, who carried her to the finish line – drawing ire from conservatives who said the bill was a waste and filled with pork. Having already passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote, it now goes to Biden’s office for signing.
Biden has touted 5.6 million jobs since taking office and an unemployment rate of 4.6%.
“And we’re just getting started, we’ve done something that’s long overdue, that’s been talked about for a long time in Washington, but has never been done,” he said, calling it ” once-in-a-generation investment”.
Biden said the legislation will “turn the climate crisis into an opportunity,” create union jobs that cannot be outsourced, invest in passenger rail, modernize ports and airports, and reduce inflation.
“We’re more looking forward to having shovels in the ground to start rebuilding America,” he said.
Passage of the bill offers Biden a well-deserved victory after months of headlines involving the crisis in Afghanistan, the crisis on the southern border as well as escalating concerns about supply shortages and rising inflation – as well as infighting within the Democratic Party over various pieces of legislation. It also comes days after Democrats suffered a major defeat in the Virginia gubernatorial race and barely held on to New Jersey’s gubernatorial seat.
Meanwhile, some conservative Republicans focused their anger on members who had voted for the legislation, promising to back the main challengers to those eligible.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., listed the names of the 13 Republicans who, in her words, “gave their voting cards to Nancy Pelosi to push through Joe Biden’s communist takeover of America via a so-called infrastructure”.
Those who voted in favor defended their decision, with Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, RN.Y., saying the funding “will be used by states and cities to upgrade roads, highways, bridges, sewer systems and flood resilience projects, including the right here on Staten Island and in South Brooklyn.” She also said passing the bill would weaken Democrats’ efforts to pass the separate spending package.
“I hope that now that the bipartisan infrastructure bill has passed, we have weakened the socialist bargaining hand and maybe even killed this radical socialist spending spree once and for all,” he said. she stated.
GOP LEGALS BLAST ‘RINOS’ AFTER HOUSE PASSES $1.2T INFRASTRUCTURE BILL: ‘TIME TO NAME NAMES’
But on Saturday, Biden doubled down and focused on the package Democrats are trying to pass without a Republican vote through the budget reconciliation process in the Senate. Moderate Democrats balked at the size of the package, as well as various inclusions such as amnesty for illegal immigrants, massive climate provisions and tax increases.
Progressives fought against cutting the package and had tried to couple it with the infrastructure bill to keep moderates on board, but were ultimately rebuffed in that effort.
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On Saturday, Biden said the House would vote on the bill – called the Build Back Better Act – the week of Nov. 15 and said he was confident it would pass the chamber, even without any support. of the GOP and a narrow Democratic majority.
“Let me be clear. We’ll pass it in the House and we’ll pass it in the Senate,” he said.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.