BFD for Biden as House okays infrastructure bill
Reconciliation vote will wait until before Thanksgiving
A big victory for President Biden last night as it finally is Infrastructure Week. Reconciliation gets delayed again. And some records in Congress really should not be broken. This is a special Saturday “Regular Order” for November 6, 2021.
INFRASTRUCTURE. After yet another day of drama among Democrats in Congress, the House last night voted 228-209 to approve a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, delivering a major bipartisan victory to President Biden. The bill now goes to the White House for his signature.
GOP RANKS. Democrats needed extra help, as 13 Republicans broke ranks to deliver the crucial votes for the infrastructure plan. Bacon NE, Fitzpatrick PA, Garbarino NY, Gonzalez OH, Katko NY, Kinzinger IL, Malliotakis NY, McKinley WV, Reed NY, Smith NJ, Upton MI, Van Drew NJ, and Young AK.
UNHAPPY. The decision left some GOP lawmakers fuming. "These are the 13 “Republicans” who handed over their voting cards to Nancy Pelosi to pass Joe Biden’s Communist takeover of America via so-called infrastructure," Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tweeted.
NAYS. A half dozen Democrats voted ‘No.’ Bush MO, Bowman NY, Ocasio Cortez NY, Omar MN, Pressley MA, and Tlaib MI. Those are some big names who were not pleased with the way things went on Friday night.
HOUSE FLOOR. As the vote ended, Democrats jammed into the Well and celebrated. The Republican side was subdued.
INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK. During the Trump Administration, the phrase "Infrastructure Week" became a running joke, as Donald Trump talked all the time about acting on infrastructure - as much as $2 trillion - but never agreed with Congress on how to pay for the extra spending.
DETAILS. It's been so long since this bipartisan bill was approved in the Senate - with the support of 19 GOP Senators - that you've probably forgotten some of the bullet points. More details from back in the summer.
$110 billion for roads and bridges
$73 billion for power grid infrastructure
$66 billion for passenger and freight rail
$65 billion to expand high-speed broadband
$55 billion for water infrastructure
$39 billion for public transit
$25 billion for airports
$7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging
BUILD BACK BETTER. While the infrastructure bill received a final House vote, the $1.75 trillion reconciliation package did not. That was a major concession by liberal Democrats, who had demanded that both bills be approved at the same time, and it caused a lot of drama Friday night on the infrastructure bill.
WHAT’S NEXT. With moderates asking for a full cost review by the Congressional Budget Office, Democrats found a way to advance the reconciliation bill last night on the House floor, but lawmakers held off on a final vote until later this month.
PROGRESSIVES. "Our colleagues have committed to voting for the transformative Build Back Better Act, as currently written, no later than the week of November 15," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). "The President has affirmed these members gave him the same commitment."
MODERATES. "We commit to voting for the Build Back Better Act, in its current form other than technical changes, as expeditiously as we receive fiscal information from the Congressional Budget Office - but in no event later than the week of November 15," the moderates wrote.
HOUSE RECORDS. Friday was a record-breaking day in the U.S. House - and not really in a good way. The House came into session at 8 am, and Republicans soon asked for a motion to adjourn. Democrats used that to figure out what was next - but it turned into a vote which was held open for 7 hours and six minutes, the longest ever.
SECOND LONGEST. Once that vote ended, then a procedural motion turned into a 4 hour and 42 minute vote - the second longest in House history. Both of those votes eclipsed the previous record (but certainly not the drama) of a 2003 vote on Medicare prescription drugs.
GOP. From the sidelines, Republicans were more than happy to poke at Democrats over the extended delays on Friday. “We’ve had two of the longest votes in the history of the House,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), “because Democrats can’t figure out what they’re going to do.”
JOBS REPORT. Not only did President Biden win final approval of the infrastructure bill, but Friday also brought him a solid jobs report. October saw 531,000 jobs added, as job gains so far in 2021 are at 5.8 million. But the U.S. is still 4.2 million jobs below where things were when the Coronavirus hit in March 2020.
BIDEN. "Today is another great day for our economic recovery," Mr. Biden said at the White House. "America is getting back to work. Our economy is starting to work for more Americans." The jobless rate is now at 4.6 percent, the lowest since the outbreak began.
REVISIONS. Republicans had denounced 'dreadful' job growth in the past two months - but the Labor Department significantly revised upward the number of jobs added in both August (now 483,000) and September (up to 312,000). January remains the slowest month of job growth in 2021 at 233,000 jobs.
LABOR FORCE. October brought no indication that workers were getting off the sidelines and starting to look for work again, simply because extra jobless benefits had been cut off. The size of the labor force increased by 104,000 in October, after shrinking by 183,000 in September.
FINE PRINT. More details from Friday’s jobs report.
ELECTION FRAUD? The news that the 17 year-old son of Virginia Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin had tried to vote on Tuesday - which sure sounds like vote fraud - had Democrats in Congress chortling last night. But they also took the chance to make a call for something new.
VOTING AGE. "Looks like there’s bipartisan support for Rep. Grace Meng's bill to allow 16-year-olds and older to vote!" said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). Some Democrats in Congress have championed the idea of lowering the national voting age to 16.
YOUNGKIN. As for why Glenn Youngkin's underage son tried to vote twice, a Youngkin campaign spokesman labeled it as an honest misunderstanding, characterizing reporting about it as a partisan attack.
MUSE OF HISTORY. November 6, 1807. On this date, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House, 'Authorizing the erection of a bridge over the river Potomac, within the District of Columbia.' This wooden toll bridge was the first of a series of bridges connecting Washington with Arlington, Virginia. The tolls were '3 cents a head for swine and sheep, and $1 for stages and coaches.' Both ends of the original bridge were burned during the 1814 invasion of Washington by the British.
The House returns for votes on November 15.
The Senate next has votes on November 15.
President Biden’s daily schedule link.