Reportedly only a few House Republicans say they will vote for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Nearly all House Republicans reportedly plan to vote against a bipartisan infrastructure bill next week, even though many support everything in it. Their opposition is apparently rooted in their objection to a separate $3.5 trillion investment package that may not even make it through Congress.
On Aug. 10, the Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a bipartisan proposal to invest $550 billion in transportation, broadband, water system, and electrical grid infrastructure. It passed by a vote of 69-30, receiving support from all 50 Senate Democrats and 19 Republicans, and is supported by President Joe Biden as well.
Polls show nearly two-thirds of voters back the bill.
Congressional Democrats are also hoping to use the budget reconciliation process to pass Biden's $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan, which would raise taxes on the rich and corporations to fund massive investments in climate change, clean energy, child care, health care, universal pre-K, and free community college.
Polls show this proposal is also popular with voters. But with zero Republicans supporting it and Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia opposing it in its current form, its prospects are in doubt.
The House is expected to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package on Sept. 27. With more than half of the 96-member Congressional Progressive Caucus suggesting they will not support the bill unless the Build Back Better plan also becomes law, according to the caucus' Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), its fate could depend on how many Republican representatives back it.
But according to reports published Tuesday by Politico and Axios, only a few of the 212 House Republicans are expected to vote yes — unless Democrats abandon the Build Back Better plan. Axios estimated that 20 or fewer GOP representatives would support the bill otherwise; Politico estimated that it would not even be a dozen.
Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) told Fox News on Sept. 15 that because the bills appear linked, it was "difficult to bring Republicans to the party" on infrastructure. "I think for honest, forthright fiscal conservatives, it's hard to get excited about the trillion dollar deal if in any way it makes it more likely that the three-and-a-half trillion dollar deal passes."
"I think if reconciliation were to just die tomorrow and know we were able to put that monstrosity to bed, I think you would see somewhere between 50 and 100 Republican votes on infrastructure," he predicted.
"If the $3.5 trillion reconciliation push dies, there will be more GOP support," Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) told Politico on Tuesday.
An unnamed House Republican told the outlet that GOP opposition is a reaction to its base's hatred for the president.
"The senators that voted for the infrastructure bill — I can't imagine how they're being treated by the base in their home states," the representative said. "[Lawmakers] have caught more crap for that infrastructure vote, just because it's perceived as you're trying to help Biden right now. If you're doing anything, you should be trying to impeach Biden, in the eyes of the base."
Back in July, the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group that includes 29 House Republicans, "strongly" endorsed the framework of the infrastructure package and urged an "expeditious, stand-alone vote in the House." But now it appears that not all of them will actually vote for the package either.
Both bills are opposed by House Republican leaders. In August, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said they would pass "over my dead body, because I'm going to do everything in our power to stop it."
Former President Donald Trump, who failed to keep a 2016 campaign promise to enact a huge infrastructure investment law, has also opposed the plan. In July, he instructed GOP lawmakers not to give "the Radical Left Democrats a big and beautiful win on Infrastructure" and threatened to arrange primary challenges to those who buck his orders.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.