Thu. Feb 2nd, 2023

A roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package passed by the U.S. Senate this month is now a key issue facing the U.S. House, where Democrats hold a thin majority. The package is expected to bring billions to Minnesota if it becomes law.

Playing into the House dynamics is tension involving a budget resolution House Democrats need to pass to push a separate and even larger spending package that could total $3.5 trillion and move through what’s known as the reconciliation process.

“I plan on voting ‘yes’ on both the budget resolution and infrastructure bill,” Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar said in a statement. “Pairing the bills together advances President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and has the support of Senate and House leadership.”

Earlier this month, key figures from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, including Omar, who serves as the caucus whip, wrote to Democratic leaders. They pointed to an internal survey of their group, writing that “a majority of our respondents affirmed that they would withhold their votes in support of the bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives until the Senate adopted a robust reconciliation package.”

Democrats have differing views on the topic. Democratic Rep. Angie Craig represents a swing district, and her seat is already getting attention from Republicans as the midterm elections approach. “I have said from the very beginning of this process that I think the bipartisan infrastructure package and a potential budget reconciliation should be considered separately,” Craig said in a statement.

“It would be a damn shame if we fumbled an opportunity to rebuild America’s infrastructure and create millions of good-paying jobs simply because it was tied up with politics in Washington,” she added.

A spokesperson for Rep. Dean Phillips noted in a statement last week that the Democrat “remains supportive of the bipartisan infrastructure package.” The statement also pointed to Phillips’ focus on “opportunities to provide additional targeted relief to small business owners” in the coming weeks.

“While he is generally supportive of the investments included in the budget reconciliation package — especially in the areas of early childhood education, child care, and clean energy — he is holding off on making any final commitments on the bill,” the statement from Phillips’ spokesperson said.

It’s unlikely Republicans will vote to move along the $3.5 trillion effort from Democrats. It’s also unclear how many House Republicans could vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed the Senate with 19 Republicans joining their Democratic colleagues in voting for the measure.

GOP Rep. Pete Stauber said in a statement that “we must improve our nation’s network of roads, bridges, highways, airports, and ports.” He also relayed “serious concerns” about the “intention to tie an infrastructure package to a partisan, 3.5-trillion-dollar reconciliation package that is filled to the brim with the far-left’s radical priorities,” when asked about the issues facing the House.

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