It is not quite what they hoped for, but the American Democrats saved the furniture, Friday, November 5, by making vote, by the House of Representatives, the vast plan of investments in American infrastructures wanted by Joe Biden who must now sign the text to allow its entry into force.
It took 218 votes for Democrats to pass this plan of 1,200 billion dollars (approximately 1,040 billion euros) intended to modernize roads, bridges and high-speed Internet and considered one of the most ambitious of modern American history. They obtained 228 against 206, thanks to the contribution of Republican votes.
The approval of the law was greeted with a round of applause, but it was a half-hearted victory for the US president who failed to secure, as he hoped, a vote on another gigantic investment plan amounting to 1,750 billion dollars.
This vast social and ecological program notably provides for nursery school for all, a profound improvement in health coverage and significant investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the Democratic leaders had to give up a vote of approval of the latter text, the centrist wing of the party demanding clarification of the costing, while its total cost has already been halved. The moderate and progressive fringes of the party finally agreed on a procedural vote to start the parliamentary process.
Throughout the day, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic president of the House of Representatives, tried to get her troops in order, and to generate enthusiasm for the president’s plans. “The program that we are promoting is innovative, historic, and that is what makes it a challenge”, she had declared in a letter to the Democrats, as if to explain these internal quarrels between elected officials of the party.
Joe Biden, facing a decline in popularity a year before the midterm parliamentary elections, said his broad social agenda should be voted on by the House in the week of November 15 at the latest, before the Senate s’ seize some.
The Senate Trial
For several weeks, the American president has strived by all means to garner support, not hesitating to come to the Capitol to meet the elected officials in person. His big bet: to save a democracy in danger and to calm the divisions dug by Donald Trump by reviving the great American dream of prosperity for all, thanks to a massive intervention of the federal state.
Joe Biden’s priority, he said again on Friday, is to “Relieve anxiety” economic and social life of American families in the face of globalization, by giving them “Well paid jobs”, by reducing a little the bill for drugs or the nursery, by allowing them to buy shiny electric cars « Made in USA » which will run on new highways …
But the president is not at the end of his sentences. If it obtains the green light from elected officials in the Chamber in mid-November, its major social component will still have to be approved in the Senate, where it risks being significantly altered.
Its fate is more particularly in the hands of an elected official from West Virginia, Senator Joe Manchin, who says he fears that the plan will further widen public debt and fuel inflation. In view of the very thin Democratic majority in the Senate, he virtually has a right of veto on the project.
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Congress adopts broad Biden infrastructure plan, but pushes back vote on social and climate investment project