The House on Friday night passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill amid more than a dozen defections on both sides of the aisle, The New York Times reports.
The House voted 228 to 206 to approve the bill, with 13 Republicans supporting the package while six Democrats voted against it.
The bill will provide more than $1 trillion in funding for infrastructure projects, though only $550 billion is new spending while the rest is reappropriated from existing programs.
The bill includes $110 billion for roads, bridges, and other major projects.
It will also provide $66 billion for passenger and freight rail and $39 billion for public transit.
The legislation also includes $65 billion to expand broadband internet access and $55 billion for water systems, including a program to replace lead pipes.
"We took a monumental step forward as a nation,” President Joe Biden said Friday. "We did something that's long overdue... a once-in-a-generation investment that's going to create millions of jobs modernizing infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our broadband, all range of things".
The bill had been stalled because the Congressional Progressive Caucus has been using the bipartisan legislation as leverage to ensure the Senate passes Biden’s larger social spending proposal, which has shrunk from around $3.5 trillion to $1.5 trillion amid negotiations.
Progressives ultimately relented and agreed to vote for the bill after holdout moderates vowed to vote for the spending bill as long as the Congressional Budget Office cost estimate matches up with the White House’s own projection.
But six members of the Squad, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Jamaal Bowman, and Cori Bush voted against the legislation.
“I have said that me personally, I want to see both of the bills come and pass simultaneously,” said Omar, one of the leaders of the CPC. “That wasn't the case. I voted no on the [infrastructure bill] as I promised."
Ocasio-Cortez said she demurred due to “trust issues.”
"Throughout this process, people would say that within our caucus, one of the issues that we have had is trust. And trust is not built in the big moments. Trust is built in the little moments. Trust is built in process. I think one of the issues that we had yesterday, for example, is we had a commitment that we were going to vote on the rule to allow BBB [Build Back Better] to proceed first," she said.
"We were ready to vote on Build Back Better this week. At the very last minute, there was a group of people saying, 'All of sudden, we need a CBO score.' You're claiming that you don't want to let Build Back Better proceed unless you can get certainty on the deficit … [and] demand that you have a deficit-increase bill at the same time? It doesn't add up. It's weird. Something weird was going on," she added.
13 Republicans back:
Eight Republicans who were part of the bipartisan group that helped negotiate the bill over the summer voted in favor of the package.
But the final number was much lower than the 29 Republican votes Problem Solvers Caucus co-chair Brian Fitzpatrick predicted he could deliver for the bill.
Five others who are not members of the caucus but come from moderate areas also backed the bill.
“We need infrastructure in this country now,” said Alaska Rep. Don Young. “This is the last opportunity we have to make sure those potholes are filled, those airports run right, that bridges are safe and our economy can continue to grow.”
But the rogue members drew intraparty fire from former President Donald Trump and his GOP allies, who argued that Republicans helped give Biden a win.
“All Republicans who voted for Democrat longevity should be ashamed of themselves, in particular Mitch McConnell, for granting a two month stay which allowed the Democrats time to work things out at our Country’s, and the Republican Party’s, expense!” Trump said in a statement.