Skip to main content

Truthout - November 6, 2021

“Passing the infrastructure bill without passing the Build Back Better Act first,” Omar said in a statement, “risks leaving behind child care, paid leave, healthcare, climate action, housing, education, and a roadmap to citizenship.”

he U.S. House on Friday night passed a bipartisan physical infrastructure bill but didn’t bring the Build Back Better Act to the floor — sending just one half of President Joe Biden’s two-pronged economic agenda to the White House, with only a pledge that conservative House Democrats will vote for the party’s broader social infrastructure and climate package at a later date.

That wasn’t the plan on Friday morning. When the day started, Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said they wanted House Democrats to pass both parts of the president’s legislative agenda: the Build Back Better Act (BBB), which would invest $1.75 trillion over 10 years to strengthen climate action and the welfare state; and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), a fossil fuel-friendly proposal to upgrade the nation’s roads, bridges, and ports that was approved by the U.S. Senate in August.

Due to the intransigence of a few right-wing House Democrats who made last-minute demands for additional fiscal information that could take weeks to obtain, and the acquiescence of Pelosi and Biden, a planned floor vote on BBB was shelved and reduced to a “rule for consideration,” which was approved in a party-line vote of 221-213. Prior to that, BIF passed by a tally of 228-206, with 13 House Republicans joining most Democrats in supporting the measure. 

Because it wasn’t accompanied by a real vote on BBB, six progressives — Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — voted against BIF.

“Passing the infrastructure bill without passing the Build Back Better Act first,” Omar said in a statement, “risks leaving behind child care, paid leave, healthcare, climate action, housing, education, and a roadmap to citizenship.”

For months, progressives have stressed — and Democratic leaders had agreed — that keeping both pieces of legislation linked and passing them in tandem was key to securing Biden’s entire agenda. Holding a floor vote on BIF and a mere procedural action on BBB, progressives argued Friday, was a betrayal of the two-track strategy that opens the door for right-wing party members who are content with the passage of BIF to further weaken, or completely abandon, the already heavily gutted BBB. ...
Read full report at Truthout