WASHINGTON — The Senate passed a massive $550 billion infrastructure bill that is a centerpiece of President Joe Biden’s agenda but a fight in the House of Representatives looms before it makes the way to his desk.
The bill passed with a vote of 69 to 30, with 19 Republicans joining all Democrats.
The passage of the bill marks a win for Biden, who made a campaign promise he would work with Republicans on legislation and bring back the bipartisan cooperation that had been missing in Washington.
“After years and years of an infrastructure week, we’re on the cusp of an infrastructure decade,” Biden said Tuesday afternoon in remarks at the White House.
The bill would see $550 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, waterways, public transit, railways, the power grid, and broadband internet. Progressive Democrats have been critical of the bill for spending too little on provisions related to climate change.
Biden celebrated the passage, thanking Republicans and other GOP lawmakers who were part of the effort.
“For the Republicans who supported this bill, you showed a lot of courage,” he said. “I want to personally thank you for that — I’ve called most of you on the phone to do just that.”
The infrastructure bill will now head to the House, where it faces a tough road to getting passed. It will eventually be paired with a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, packed with Democrats’ climate, health, and social priorities. Democrats won’t need any Republican support but would need all 50 Democratic senator’s support.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said she will not bring the infrastructure bill onto the floor for a vote until the Senate passes the reconciliation bill, which could take months of negotiations.
“The House will continue to work with the Senate to ensure that our priorities For The People are included in the final infrastructure and reconciliation packages, in a way that is resilient and will Build Back Better,” she said.
Pelosi has received some pushback from House members who do not want her to wait for the second piece of legislation before passing the infrastructure deal. House Democratic Caucus penned a letter to Pelosi over the weekend, calling on her to hold a vote on the bipartisan plan.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the Senate will now “immediately move” to pass the budget resolution that will allow the party to begin crafting the $3.5 trillion bill.
“The two-track strategy is proceeding full steam ahead,” Schumer said.