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When will the House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill?

After passing a spending bill to avert a government shutdown, the House is expected to gavel in around 9 PM to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

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When will the House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill?
MANDEL NGAN AFP

The House of Representatives took a short recess on 30 September after passing a stop-gap spending bill to fund the government through 3 December.

The next vote on the docket is scheduled for 9 PM (ET). Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised that at that time the Bipartisan Infrastcutre bill, which has already been approved in the Senate will be brought to the House for a vote.

Will the bill pass?

While the bill has received support from both parties, there are many forces that could prevent its passage. Primarily, the opposition by progressive Democrats who were promised that the vote on the infrastructure package would be tied to an additional vote on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.

This decision to tie the fate of the bills together was made after the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package left out many of the popular aspects of the President's Build Back Better Agenda.

What does the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastcure bill contain?

A summary of the bill passed by the Senate, included the following allocations: 

  • $110 billion for roads and bridges
  •  $39 billion for public transport
  • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail
  • $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations
  • $5 billion for electric and hybrid school buses
  •  $42 billion to reduce congestion at ports and airports
  • $55 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure
  • $65 billion to expand broadband access
  • $21 billion to clean up super sites and cap obsolete gas wells
  • $73 billion to modernise the national grid and further introduce renewable energy

Last Spring, President Biden had proposed two pieces of legislation, the American Jobs Plan (AJP) and the American Families Plan (AFP), which together with the American Rescue Plan form his economic agenda.

When Democrats on Capitol Hill and the White House began negotiating with Republicans, the negotiations quickly collapsed as the GOP caucus categorically opposed the majority of measures included in these plans. 

In addition to investments in traditional infrastructure, these plans include: 

  • an extension of the Child Tax Credit's current structure through 2025,
  •  billions in funding for building more climate-resilient infrastructure,
  • the establishment of a universal Pre-K program,
  • a federal paid family leave program, and more.

After seeing the details of the AJP and AFP, Republicans said that they were only interested in negotiating a traditional infrastructure bill. By early Summer, a group of more than twenty senators had agreed with the White House on a targeted intrastate bill, which was passed by the Senate in August.

Progressives oppose a vote on the infrastructure bill without one on the reconciliation package

With a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill scheduled for late Thursday evning, Progressives have made their position clear: no vote on the reconciliation bill, no votes for traditional infrastructure.

Democrats do not disagree that the nation's crumbling intrastate needed investing, they do not believe it should be at the expense of benefits for families.

Chairmen of the Senate Budgetary Committee, Bernie Sanders has been leading on the reconciliation bill in his chamber, with support from many members of the Democratic caucus. has

Earlier this week, Sen. Sanders met with Rep. Ilhan Omar, who serves as the whip for Progressive Caucus, and warned that the Senate will not vote on the reconciliation bill if House Democrats allow the infrastructure bill to pass. The passage of the infrastructure bill would leave progressives with no leverage to get a vote on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.

Sen. Sanders took the same message to Twitter, where he said: "I strongly urge my House colleagues to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill until Congress passes a strong reconciliation bill."

This message was reiterated by Sen. Elizabeth Warren who told the press that she was asked if she agreed with Sanders.

Based on an informal whip count, as of Thursday 30 September, Speaker Pelosi does not have the votes to pass the infrastructure package. Inbetween the vote on the bill that allowed the government to stay open, and the 9 PM vote scheduled tonight, the Speaker has been hard at work trying to get members of the Progressive Caucus to forgo their strategy. However, it does not seem likely that members be penalized should they withhold their vote.