Washington, Aug 24 (EFE).- The US House of Representatives, where the Democrats have a majority, voted along party lines Tuesday to clear the way for approval of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion social and infrastructure spending plan.
The progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic Party arrived at an agreement to move the legislation forward after 24 hours of tension during which the bill had been stalled.
On Tuesday, the 220 Democrats in the House voted as a bloc to move the bill forward, while the 212 Republicans in the House voted against the measure.
The aim of the huge spending package is to provide funding for health care, as well as care for children and the elderly, education and dealing with climate change, among other matters.
It includes a large amount of spending on what the Biden administration has termed “human infrastructure” with the idea that it is necessary to invest in social programs to stimulate the economy, for example, by reopening child care centers that closed during the pandemic, thus allowing parents to return to work since now their children can be professionally cared for during the workday.
Progressives could approve the budget initiative, which includes the social spending plan, with the seats they currently hold in the Senate – 50 – via a mechanism known as reconciliation, for which they would not need to get the support of any Republicans.
In like manner, Democrats and Republicans gave their support to a $1.2 trillion plan to rebuild the country’s “physical infrastructure,” namely bridges, ports and highways, spending that – in many cases – has long been postponed or stymied.
The $1.2 trillion plan was approved in the Senate at the beginning of August and now must be voted on in the House.
That issue was where disagreements arose in the past 24 hours between Democratic progressives and moderates, since the moderates wanted the lower house to first approve the $1.2 trillion bill and later the spending package.
Progressives, however, wanted to give priority to the social spending plan.
To strike a deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised that the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package will be approved before Sept. 27.
In remarks to the press at the White House, Biden said that Tuesday’s vote in the lower house is a “significant step” toward making the “historic investment” whereby he hopes to transform the country.
The president went on to say that the vote will enable the House to consider his “Build Back Better” agenda, which he described as “a broad framework to make housing more affordable, bring down the cost of prescription drugs by giving medicare the power to negotiate lower prices for drugs” and to “make elder care more affordable.”
Since he took office in January, Biden’s priorities have been to fight the coronavirus pandemic and revitalize the country’s economy.