On Friday, November 5th, 2021, the House of Representatives approved a $1 trillion bill
which will result in the largest infrastructure upgrade in the United States in a generation.
The bill will serve to upgrade America’s transportation systems, such as roads, highways, railways, seaports, and airports. It will also improve broadband internet service, water supplies, and other public works while creating legions of jobs and increasing American competitiveness.
The package was finally approved following a 228-206 vote which concluded a months-long standoff between progressives and moderates within the Democratic Party. Despite an ultimate consensus among the Democrats, six far-left politicians opposed the package, most notably Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Cori Bush (MO). Additionally, the bill received support from thirteen Republicans, most of whom were centrists.
The passing of the infrastructure package is a key victory for both the Democratic Party and the Biden Administration and its hefty domestic agenda. On November 2nd, Democrats saw underwhelming results from members of their party in state elections, with a gubernatorial loss in Virginia and a very narrow win in New Jersey— both of which are blue states.
The Democrats’ struggles in these state elections serve as a portent to next year’s more significant midterm elections. The Democratic majority in Congress is already incredibly thin following the 2020 election, and with Republicans seeing encouraging results on the state level, Democrats have reason to worry about the 2022 congressional elections if they cannot continue to move forward with their domestic agenda.
The infrastructure bill is not the only bill of at least $1 trillion that the Biden Administration plans to pass. A vote on a second 10-year bill of $1.85 trillion was recently deferred to late November.
If passed, the second bill would be the greatest expansion of the American social safety net since the 1960s, focusing on programs surrounding health, family, and climate issues. However, similar to the infrastructure bill, the second bill has had difficulty receiving support from the disunified Democratic Party.
Although Democrats had planned on passing the safety net bill along with the infrastructure bill, it received opposition from moderates, who wanted to reevaluate the bill’s extensive costs. The bill has also faced strong Republican resistance, with many Republicans claiming that such a package is “a dramatic expansion of government that would hurt businesses.”
Regardless of their inability to pass the safety net package, the infrastructure bill is cause enough for celebration within the Democratic Party, and a reminder of the importance of bipartisan communication among political leaders.
“Generations from now, people will look back and know this is when America won the economic competition for the 21st Century,” said President Biden after the House’s approval of the bill.
The progress surrounding the infrastructure bill not only serves as momentum for the second of the Biden Administration’s packages, but as encouragement for meeting the Administration’s major presidential goals in the future.
Fram, Alan. “Dems End Deadlock, House Hands Biden Infrastructure Win.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 6 Nov. 2021, https://apnews.com/article/immigration-joe-biden-business-health-environment-87d4c106c2a57e2c88525ef9db59e776.
Person, and Makini Brice Susan Cornwell. “U.S. Democrats Pass $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill, Ending Daylong Standoff.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 6 Nov. 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/bidens-sweeping-infrastructure-social-spending-bills-finally-get-vote-2021-11-05/.
About the Author:
Karenna Marnik is a sophomore student. Over the past year, Karenna has developed an interest in journalism and has even contributed to her school’s newspaper. Karenna has a passion for sailing, as she has participated in the sport for seven years. She also enjoys a lifestyle filled with exercise and the outdoors, particularly hiking.