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Biden hails ‘monumental step forward’ as Democrats pass infrastructure bill

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Biden hails ‘monumental step forward’ as Democrats pass infrastructure bill

The ObserverJoe Biden

Biden hails ‘monumental step forward’ as Democrats pass infrastructure bill

The president will sign $1tn package into law after House ended months-long standoff by approving bipartisan deal

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Joe Biden<br />President Joe Biden speaks about the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the State Dinning Room of the White House, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)” height=”259″ width=”460″ class=”dcr-1989ovb”></picture>
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This week, Democratic candidates for governor lost in Virginia and squeaked home in New Jersey, two blue-leaning states. Those setbacks made leaders, centrists and progressives impatient to demonstrate they know how to govern a year before midterm elections that could see Republicans retake Congress.

At the White House, Biden said: “Each state is different and I don’t know but I think the one message that came across was, ‘Get something done … stop talking, get something done.’ And so I think that’s what the American people are looking for.

“All the talk about the elections and what do they mean? They want us to deliver. Democrats, they want us to deliver. Last night we proved we can on one big item. We delivered.”

The postponement of a vote on the spending bill dashed hopes of a double win. But in a deal brokered by Biden and party leaders, five moderates agreed to back the bill if CBO estimates of its costs are consistent with numbers from the White House and congressional analysts.

The agreement, in which lawmakers promised to vote by the week of 15 November, was a significant step towards shipping the bill to the Senate. Its chances there are not certain: it must pass on the casting vote of Vice-President Kamala Harris and with the approval of Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, centrists who have proved obstructive so far.

Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi and James Clyburn speak to the press at the Capitol in Washington on Friday.

The spending bill “is fiscally responsible”, Biden said. “That’s a fancy way of saying it is fully paid for. It doesn’t raise the deficit by a single penny. And it actually reduces the deficit according to the leading economists in this country over the long term. And it’s paid for by making sure that the wealthiest Americans, the biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share.”

Republicans have highlighted what they say will be the bill’s effects on dangerous economic inflation.

Why does the media keep saying this election was a loss for Democrats? It wasn’t | Rebecca Solnit

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“According to economists,” Biden said, “this is going to be easing inflationary pressures … by lowering costs for working families.”

He also said: “We got out of the blue a couple of weeks ago a letter from 17 Nobel prize winners in economics and they determined that [the two bills] will ease inflationary pressures not create them.”

Biden acknowledged that he will not get Republican votes for the spending bill and must “figure out” how to unite his party. Friday was an exhausting day for Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker. She told reporters: “Welcome to my world. This is the Democratic party. We are not a lockstep party.”

Biden said he was confident he could find the votes. Asked what gave him that confidence, the president alluded to his legislative experience as a senator and vice-president, saying: “Me.”

On Friday night, Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, delayed travel to Delaware as the president worked the phones. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters Biden even called her mother in India. It was unclear why.

“This was not to bribe me, this is when it was all done,” Jayapal said, adding that her mother told her she “just kept screaming like a little girl”.

  • Associated Press contributed to this report

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Published at Sat, 06 Nov 2021 16:41:27 +0000

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/06/joe-biden-infrastructure-bill-democrats-monumental-step-forward

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