What should have been a routine task — Biden recalled infrastructure as “probably the least difficult thing to do” when he was a senator — became an exercise in showing how damaged the legislative process has become in partisan Washington and how a president and core group of senators were determined to try to fix it.
Both Alaska senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, were among 19 Republicans who voted yes. A sizable number of lawmakers showed they were willing to set aside partisan pressures, at least for a moment, eager to send billions to their states for rebuilding roads, broadband internet, water pipes and the public works systems that underpin much of American life.
The new moratorium would temporarily halt evictions in counties with “substantial and high levels” of virus transmissions and would cover areas where 90% of the U.S. population lives.
More than 3.6 million Americans are at risk of eviction, some in a matter of days, as a moratorium comes to an end.
The president said not everyone got what they wanted and that other White House priorities would be done separately in a congressional budget process known as reconciliation.
The rejection of the voting bill, known as the For the People Act, forces Democrats to reckon with what comes next for their top legislative priority in a narrowly divided Senate.
A Senate group working on a $1 trillion infrastructure compromise more than doubled to 21 members Wednesday, with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski describing it as a “Noah’s Ark approach” to counter opponents in both parties.
The senators have been encouraged by President Biden to keep working on the effort after he walked away from a Republican-only proposal this week.
At the same time, Democrats are laying the groundwork to pass some or all of President Biden’s ambitious infrastructure package on their own.
After six months of Democratic control in Washington, the party’s progressive wing is growing increasingly restless as campaign promises go undone.
“Truth is hard stuff, but we’ve got a responsibility to it,” said Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, one of six Republicans who supported the commission. “We just can’t pretend that nothing bad happened, or that people just got too excitable.”
Most Republicans oppose the bill that would establish a commission to investigate the attack by Donald Trump supporters over the election.
Senate Republicans are signaling that they will try to block — or at least slow down — a Democratic effort to create a 9/11-style commission on the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Senators overwhelmingly approved the the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 by an 89-2 vote.
Biden will call for free preschool for all three- and four-year-old children, a $200 billion investment to be rolled out as part of his sweeping American Families Plan.