- After months of struggle, the US Congress approved one of President Joe Biden’s primary domestic policies.
- A few weeks after the Senate, the House also passed a major investment program late Friday night to modernize the country’s infrastructure.
- The bill was approved by 228 votes to 206. It is now up to Biden to enact the law.
New investments in infrastructure are set to reach about $550 billion over the next few years. Including pre-budgeted funds, the package is worth more than $1 trillion.
Billions in infrastructure will be used in the coming years for roads, bridges, ports, airports, local transport and railways. Climate protection, which Biden has made a top priority, should also benefit from some projects.
Only with the support of many Republicans were the Democrats finally able to obtain a majority in favor of the project. Six Democrats voted against.
Voting was preceded by turbulent hours on Friday. Throughout most of the day, it was not clear whether a vote would ever come, and until the last minute it was not clear whether a majority would support the package. Biden once again had to personally intervene in this issue to avoid a dramatic setback in Congress.
Resistance within the party
When he took office, the US president presented plans for billions of dollars in investments in both the country’s infrastructure and social security systems. The infrastructure package was already passed in the Senate in August after long negotiations. However, the final vote in the House of Representatives is still missing.
This was largely delayed, as Democrats on the party’s left wing used the vote as leverage in internal negotiations on the second, and larger, package with investments in social and climate protection. This package met with some opposition from within the Democratic Party.
Given the very narrow majority of Democrats in both houses of Congress, Biden is counting on unity in his ranks to carry out his plans. But this has been missing for months.
Another package pending
Joe Biden still has to worry about another key domestic political project. The vote, also scheduled for Friday, on the aforementioned second, $1.75 trillion package, with investments in social and climate protection, has been postponed.
US House of Representatives Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi said several Democratic lawmakers have expressed a need for additional data and details on the package. That will be respected.
It will take “about a week” to provide these numbers. The hope is to pass the legislative package next — before the Thanksgiving holiday in the US at the end of November. Pelosi spoke of a “Thanksgiving gift” to the people of the country.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he was “quite sure, without a doubt,” that the package would be approved in the Capitol chamber before Thanksgiving. After the House of Representatives, the US Senate will also have to approve, as a majority is not yet considered guaranteed.
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