Washington DC, Nov 5 (EFE).- The United States’ House of Representative on Friday night approved President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan after a dramatic day of discord within the Democratic Party.
The plan, which was passed in the Senate in August and had been stuck in the House for months, was approved in a vote of 228-206 and now heads to Biden for his signature.
Although the Democrats have a majority in the House, six progressive members of the Democratic caucus voted against the bill while 13 Republicans voted for it.
The standoff between Democratic progressives and centrists stems from the differences in their priorities.
The progressives demanded that this infrastructure bill be put to a vote alongside Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending package after several cuts, something to which the president himself had committed, but the centrists refused.
The standoff has dragged on for months with sustained pressure from the Democratic leadership, the White House and Biden himself on both factions to approve his agenda.
Some analysts have pointed to this chaos as one of the reasons for the Democrats’ losses in the elections on Tuesday, when they lost Virginia’s governor race.
The progressives agreed on Friday to approve the infrastructure plan after extracting a promise from the centrists to support the social spending package in the coming weeks.
Already in the early hours of Saturday, the Democrats seamlessly approved a procedural vote to begin the debate on the social plan.
In a statement, Biden himself urged all members to vote for both bills “tonight.”
The 1.2 trillion plan approved on Friday, which only contemplates about $550 billion in new federal spending, is substantially less than the initial $2.25 trillion package presented by Biden in March.
The package includes more than $110 billion to repair roads, bridges and highways and $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, the largest investment in this sector in 50 years.
The bill also allocates $55 billion for clean drinking water, including funding for replacement of all lead service pipes, and another $65 billion on broadband infrastructure deployment.
It also allocates billions of dollars for port infrastructure and in airports.
The bill also pays attention to the fight against the climate crisis and invests $7.5 billion to create a network of charging stations for electric vehicles in the US, one of Biden’s priorities.
Another $47 billion are allocated to the response to fires, droughts, coastal erosion and heat waves, among others.
This is the largest investment in public infrastructure in the US in years. EFE